US employment increased more than expected last month as the headwind from the surge in Covid-19 infections over the summer subsided, offering more evidence that economic activity was regaining momentum in a boost for Joe biden.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said in its closely watched employment report on Friday. Data for September was revised higher to show 312,000 created instead of the previously reported 194,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 450,000 jobs. Estimates ranged from as low as 125,000 jobs to as high as 755,000. Worker shortages persisted, even as federal government-funded unemployment benefits wound down in early September and schools reopened for in-person learning.
Still, the report joined rising consumer confidence and services sector activity in painting a more favorable picture of the economy, after the Delta variant of the coronavirus and economy-wide shortages of goods restrained growth in the third quarter to its slowest pace in more than a year.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% from 4.8% in September. While companies desperately want to hire, millions remain unemployed and outside the labor force.