U.S. has added 2.3 million jobs this year

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Employers added 214,000 jobs in October, continuing a trend of strong job growth this year.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, according the federal jobs report released Friday. The rate fell below 6% in September for the first time in six years.

Economists are growing more optimistic about hiring. The consensus forecast from economists surveyed by CNNMoney was for a jobs gain of 233,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.9%.

On average, the economy has been adding well over 200,000 jobs a month this year, a positive sign. There have been nearly 2.3 million jobs added so far this year.

Americans, however, have not been as upbeat about the economy. Though unemployment has fallen from 7.2% a year ago, the economy remains their top concern and played into the midterm voting.

That’s mainly because wages have remained stagnant. Average hourly earnings remained steady last month at $24.57. Wages are a main driver of how much people spend, which drives economic growth. While wages are up 2% over the past year, that’s just slightly ahead of inflation, which means most U.S. workers don’t feel any better off.

To put it another way, median family income in the U.S. has fallen back to 1995 levels.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and other officials are closely monitoring the monthly jobs report. They are waiting for hiring to become healthy enough before raising interest rates.

The Fed said last week that the job market is improving.

“On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing,” the statement read.

 

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