The U.S. economy created more jobs than expected in October, driven by bars and restaurants re-hiring tens of thousands of workers, even as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Labor Department said in its Friday report that employers added 638,000 jobs last month, sending the unemployment rate down for the sixth straight month to 6.9%, topping Wall Street's expectations.
"The labor market continues to climb its way out of the hole created by COVID-19," said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmeade.
Leisure and hospitality, one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, once again led in terms of job growth, with gains of 271,000. Restaurants and bars accounted for 192,000 of the total even as the U.S. set records for new daily COVID-19 infections.
Professional and business services, another source of job creation, surged by 208,000 with gains across the board. About half of those gains were from the hiring of temporary help workers.
Retail added 103,700 workers, with the biggest gains -- 31,000 -- in electronics and appliance stores. Construction jumped by 84,000.
Education and health services added 57,000 new positions last month.
"Notable job gains occurred over the month in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction," the government said in a release.
On the flip side, some of the largest losses came from the public sector. Government employment fell by 268,000 across the federal, state and local levels.
One of the reasons for the decline on the federal level was the loss of 147,000 temporary 2020 Census workers. At the state and local level, meanwhile, governments reported shedding 61,400 and 97,800 education jobs, respectively.