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Employers added 214,000 jobs in October

Non-farm employers added 214,000 jobs to their payrolls in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate also ticked downward to 5.8 percent, from 5.9 percent in September.

The biggest job gains came in leisure and hospitality, with 52,000 jobs. Next was education and healthcare, with 41,000, and professional and business services — a broad category that includes accountants and lawyers — with 37,000. Retail added just over 27,000 jobs last month. The only industry that lost jobs was information (which includes broadcasting and publishing), which lost 4,000 workers.

The labor force participation rate — the share of the population looking for a job or working — ticked upward slightly, from 62.7 to 62.8 percent. The share of the population working also ticked upward, from 59.0 to 59.2 percent.

These are two indicators that give a closer read on the job market than the unemployment rate alone. Because the unemployment rate only counts people who are actively looking for work (and therefore, who are participating in the labor force), it's possible for the jobless rate to fall not because people are looking for work but because they're giving up the job search. So this might be good news that the jobless rate fell and the participation rate and employment-population ratio rose. That said, these are only small movements and could just be noise in the data.

One piece of good news from the report: August and September's payroll figures were revised upward, for a combined total of 31,000 more jobs than previously reported.

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