According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (Utgoff, 2003, November), nonfarm payroll employment rose by 126,000 in October, following increases in August and September that totaled 160,000, after revision. The increase in payroll employment over the last 3 months contrasts with declines in the February-July period that averaged 85,000 per month. Several service industries added jobs in October. Manufacturing employment continued to decline, although at slower pace than earlier in the year. The unemployment rate, at 6.0 percent, was essentially unchanged over the month.
The jobless rates for all the major worker groups showed little change over the month. About 8.8 million persons were unemployed, of whom 2.0 million had been without a job for 27 weeks or longer. Employment as measured by our household survey rose over the month.
A net growth of 126,000 jobs was reported in October, the largest one-month gain since the recession officially ended in November 2001.
Unemployment has held steady at 6%. Economic growth leaped 7.2% in the third quarter, while worker productivity rose a remarkable 8.1%. The four-week moving average of initial applications for unemployment benefits dropped from 420,500 to 408,750. This improvement in the labor market could be an indication that the economy is strengthening. A recovery in the labor market is needed to help maintain consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of the economy. President Bush, increasingly desperate for an economic turnaround as 2004 nears, called the strong employment numbers " the beginning of good news for job seekers."
In September 2003, real disposable personal income decreased 1.2 percent at a seasonally adjusted monthly rate. Per capita real disposable personal income (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) decreased $337. The financial condition of U.S. farmers and other agricultural stakeholders is expected to improve in 2003. Net farm income,