Our nation’s labor market posted stable growth in the month of October. We added 104,000 private sector jobs last month, as well as 102,000 more jobs than had previously been reported in August and September. And the unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent, its lowest level in six months.
We’ve now created 2.8 million jobs over 20 consecutive months of private sector growth, including more than 1 million jobs this year alone. GDP growth in the third quarter was 2.5 percent — the fastest rate in over a year and nearly twice that of the previous quarter. Additionally, businesses reported significantly fewer layoffs in October. We also know that consumer and business spending are both up, reflecting Americans’ increased confidence in our recovery progress.
And I’m happy to report that the number of long-term unemployed — defined as Americans out of work for 27 weeks or more — fell by 366,000 in October, the biggest drop since 1948. Additionally, the jobless rate for African-Americans dropped a percentage point to 15.1 percent, its lowest level since August 2009.
Unfortunately, we continue to see job losses in government and construction, both areas where passage of the American Jobs Act would have a direct and immediate effect on job creation. Overall, non-farm payroll added 80,000 jobs in October, reflecting the loss of 24,000 government jobs and 20,000 jobs in construction. Last week, the Senate voted down provisions of the American Jobs Act that would have helped keep teachers, police officers and firefighters on the job. This week, the Senate voted down a common-sense infrastructure bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. We cannot allow political partisanship to hamper the vital functions of our communities.
The policies this administration has pursued have added jobs back into the economy, but the pace of our recovery continues to be influenced by the failure of Congress to pass legislation to put Americans back to work. However, even in the absence of action by Congress, job growth since April has averaged 90,000 jobs, compared to the 11,000 monthly average during the Bush administration.