WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate held steady at 9.6 percent, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate has remained essentially unchanged since May.
A total of 14.8 million Americans were unemployed in October.
Private sector employment grew by 159,000 jobs last month, while the government shed 8,000 jobs. The slight uptick largely reflected increases in service jobs. In October, the temporary help services sector added 35,000 jobs, retailers added 28,000 jobs, the health care sector added 24,000 jobs, and the computer systems design and related services industry added 8,000 jobs. The mining industry added 8,000 jobs last month.
In the leisure and hospitality industry, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 26,000 jobs in October, while the food services and drinking places sector added 24,000 jobs.
Since December 2009, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs. By contrast, the economy lost 8 million jobs in 2008 and 2009.
Employment in the manufacturing sector has remained stagnant since May. The industry lost 7,000 jobs in October.
The number of people jobless for six months or longer remained at 6.2 million, or nearly 42 percent of those unemployed.
The number of involuntary part-time workers, forced to work part-time because their hours have been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job, fell by 318,000 to 9.2 million.
The number of discouraged workers, or those not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them, is at 1.2 million.
Government employment remained largely unchanged in October. Local government, excluding education, shed 14,000 jobs. Temporary 2010 Census jobs fell by 5,000, leaving 1,000 Census workers.
According to revised data, the economy lost 41,000 jobs in September, as opposed to 95,000.
In response to the “disappointingly slow” economic recovery, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its plan to purchase $600 billion in long-term Treasury bonds over the next eight months in an effort to spur economic growth.