The categories of professional services and health care led the way in job growth last month as employers kept up the solid hiring that's been fueling those sectors.
Professional services, which tend to offer higher pay than most, added 43,000 jobs in October. Over the past year, that sector has gained more than a half-million jobs in such areas as computer systems design, management and technical consulting, accounting and engineering.
The health care and social assistance category gained more than 39,000 jobs last month amid high demand for workers at hospitals, medical clinics and family service facilities.
Construction, financial services, and government also posted gains, while manufacturing and retail lost jobs. Manufacturing has been in a prolonged slump and has shed 53,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
Overall, employers added 161,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from 5 percent.