The U.S. economy created 531,000 jobs in October, more than the 450,000 economists had forecast, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The unemployment rate also dropped slightly from 4.8% to 4.6%, the lowest since the pandemic hit. The unemployment rate in February of 2020 was 3.5%, an historic low.
Jobs numbers for August and September were also revised upward.
Celebrating the better-than-expected report, President Joe Biden called it “another great day for our economic recovery,” during comments Friday at the White House on the jobs report.
Most of the employment gains were in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing sectors.
“Overall, it was a really positive jobs report but leaves some questions about the structure of the labor market for the Fed,” Megan Greene, the global chief economist at the advisory firm Kroll Institute and a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, told ABC News.
However, the jobs report was not all good news.
Labor participation, the number of people working or actively seeking a job, remained at a low 61.6%, and only 104,000 new people joined the workforce in October.
The disappointing labor participation rate has been fairly steady over the past year at the lowest levels seen since the early 1970s.
Businesses have tried to get workers back by raising wages or offering bonuses, but most of those gains have been offset by rising prices for food, gas and rent.