Reports Show Much Improved Jobs Picture For October

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The nation's struggling jobs picture continue to improve in October, despite ongoing concern about the anemic economic recovery, two reports showed Wednesday.

Private employers in the U.S. added 110,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report, more than the 101,000 analysts expected, Reuters reported. Further, the ADP report showed job creation was better in September than first reported. ADP said private employers added 116,000 new jobs in September, up from a previously reported 91,000.

"It is not a huge amount better, but the fact that it was better than expected and there was a revision in the last month's number is a pretty encouraging sign," Peter Jankovskis of Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Ill., told the wire service.

A second report showed planned layoffs in October fell to their lowest levels since June. After reaching a 28-month high in September, the number of planned job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers fell 63 percent in October to 42,759, according to employment-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

In September, employers announced 115,730 job cuts, the highest total since 132,590 in April 2009, Challenger noted.

The Challenger report also showed that companies announced plans last month to boost their staffs by 160,000, helped in part by seasonal hiring ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

The biggest declines in planned job cuts were in the financial and government sectors, the report said. After announcing 54,182 cuts to personnel levels in September, the government announced just 2,785 job cuts in October, a drop of 95 percent.

The financial sector, meanwhile, reported planned cuts of 497 jobs last month, a 98 percent decline from the more than 31,000 announced in September.

Despite the dramatic declines, Challenger CEO John Challenger said neither sector is "out of the woods" yet and the potential for more mass layoffs remains.

Most cuts in government jobs have been at the state level, Challenger said in a statement. "We have yet to see the full impact of mandated federal spending cuts," he said, noting that the U.S. Postal Service alone is expected to cut 200,000 jobs.

The Challenger report also revealed other areas of continued weakness in the labor market.

Though lower than in September, planned layoffs last month were up nearly 13 percent compared to a year ago, and employers so far this year have announced more than 520,000 job cuts. That compares with about 450,000 during the same 10-month period last year.

Still, Challenger noted, job cuts so far this year remain "well below" levels two years ago. By this point in 2009, the reports said, planned layoffs totaled nearly 1.2 million.

Both reports were released in advance of the Labor Department's month employment report, due out Friday. Analysts expect the government report will show the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs last month, according to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Analysts also expect the nation's unemployment rate to remain at 9.1 percent -- marking the fourth consecutive month in which joblessness remained at that level.


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