The labour market improved slightly in October. Although the unadjusted number of people out of work rose 1,856 to 14,451, a 3,262 increase from a year ago, seasonally adjusted unemployment fell 408 or 0.3 percent on the month to 149,475. The jobless rates were unchanged at 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent respectively, in line with expectations.
There was also further progress on vacancies with the adjusted count increasing 171 or 1.6 percent from September. The unadjusted data showed a 15.2 percent gain versus October 2016.
Today's data still leave an essentially flat underlying trend in unemployment, in line with sluggish growth of domestic demand. Concerns about job prospects remain a significant threat to a much-needed pick-up in household spending.
The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour force. Both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly data are provided.
Like the employment data, unemployment data help to gauge the current state as well as the future direction of the economy. Employment data are categorized by sectors. This sector data can go a long way in helping investors determine in which economic sectors they intend to invest.
By tracking the jobs data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If employment is tight it is a good bet that interest rates will rise and bond and stock prices will fall. In contrast, when job growth is slow or negative, then interest rates are likely to decline - boosting up bond and stock prices in the process.