October was a “so-so” month for intangible employment

This morning’s employment data from BLS for October is better than expected but still rather disappointing (even though the unemployment rate dropped significantly). Employment rose by 638,000 compared to the 600,000 economists expected. Almost all of that growth was in tangible producing goods and services industries. Similar to the previous months, increases occurred in industries where there is physical presence with customers, specifically Accommodation & Food Services and Trade, Transportation & Utilities.

On the intangible-producing side of the economy, employment in Professional & Business Services expanded at a healthy rate. Almost every other industry grew only very modestly, if at all. But once again, there was a large drop in government employment offsetting most of the gains.

I’ll repeat myself from the last two months. Once again, under normal circumstances this would be a positive increase. However, in the age of COVID-19, this is only a modest rebound in employment. And keep in mind the worrisome trend of furloughed workers being permanently let go.

Much more needs to be done.

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