October Jobs: Unemployment Down, But Underemployment Up

Early holiday hiring may have driven unemployment down a notch.

There were a net 204,000 new jobs created for the month, though the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent and households reported a huge drop in employment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. A separate measure that includes the underemployed and those who have quit looking also moved higher, from 13.6 percent to 13.8 percent.

The numbers easily topped economist expectations of 120,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs for the month, though it matched estimates for a slight increase in the headline jobless rate.


Leisure and hospitality led the way in job creation with 53,000 new positions, 29,000 of which came from bars and restaurants. Professional and technical services added 21,000 while manufacturing contributed 19,000, according to the establishment survey of businesses.

"Leisure and hospitality" -- not the kind of jobs that should be leading the way.

So the "unemployment rate" -- which has deserved air quotes during much of Obama's reign -- is down but there are still more Americans just giving up looking for work. In the Obama economy, there ain't no jobs but McJobs.

The shutdown didn't have the apocalyptic impact on jobs that many predicted, but Obamacare may cause an unexpected! spike in January. We'll see. Obamacare's perverse incentives encourage millions to reduce their income to qualify for subsidies, and they encourage businesses to cut worker hours, which will cut income. Obamacare also encourages small businesses to keep below the 50-worker threshold. Expect all of these incentives to impact the holiday hiring season, which is now in full swing. And expect sticker shock to force many to curb their holiday shopping significantly.

And then expect economist to be blindsided by all of this next year.