Economy Adds 128,000 Jobs, Unemployment Ticks Up to 3.6%

GM Plant Readies For Third Shift As U.S. Sales Increase In February

October was a solid month for job gains as the U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs, despite a 40-day strike by General Motors employees and continued global uncertainty due to President Donald Trump's trade war with China and the United Kingdom negotiations to exit the European Union.

The unemployment rate increased slightly from a 50-year low of 3.5% to 3.6%, according to statistics released by the Labor Department on Friday. That's actually a bit of good news as the survey not only found a strong increase in employment, but that was offset by an even larger increase in the labor force - that is, Americans who are working and looking for jobs.

The Labor Department also issued revisions for previous months, with the agency adding another 51,000 increase for August to 219,000, and another 44,000 jobs in September for 180,000, a total of 95,000 more jobs added.

The average monthly job growth for the year has slowed slightly for 2019, with about 167,000 jobs added, down from 223,000 in 2018. The drop can be explained by a tight labor labor that's making it difficult for many companies to find qualified workers. The economy overall grew 1.9% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported this week, over-performing expectations by economists.

Photo: Getty Images

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