Mostly from brilliant former Veep economist Jared Bernstein, bold mine:
Well, the big jobs report is out showing payrolls grew by a more-than-expected 171,000 last month and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly, as expected, to 7.9%. Job growth for the prior two months was revised up by 84,000, and the average monthly pace of job growth over the past four months–a useful way of smoothing out monthly noise in the data–is 173,000, a sharp acceleration over the second quarter’s pace of 67,000 per month (see figure).
The uptick in unemployment was expected after September’s 0.3 percentage point drop, but a few things are worth noting. First, the 0.1 point increase is statistically indistinguishable from no change at all–the unemployment rate has to rise or fall about 0.2 points to be significant. At 7.9%, the jobless rate is down significantly–by one full point–from its rate one year ago. Second, one reason for the slight uptick was more people coming into the labor market seeking work. We’ll need to see how this development evolves in coming months, but we may be seeing early signs of an improving job market pulling more job seekers in from the sidelines.
All told, given the acceleration in payroll growth, the upward revisions to prior months payroll gains, the trend decline in unemployment, and the pick-up in labor force participation, today’s report is generally pointing to job market that’s showing signs of improvement.