U.S. employment increased more than expected in October as the headwind from the surge in COVID-19 infections over the summer subsided, offering more evidence that economic activity was regaining momentum early in the fourth quarter.
Non-farm payrolls increased by 5,31,000 jobs last month, the Labour Department said in its closely- watched employment report on Friday.
Data for September was revised higher to show 3,12,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 1,94,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 4,50,000 jobs. Worker shortages persisted, even as federal government-funded unemployment benefits wound down in early September and schools reopened.
Still, the report joined rising consumer confidence and services sector activity in painting a more favourable picture of the economy, after the Delta variant of the coronavirus and economy-wide shortages of goods restrained growth in the third quarter to its slowest pace in more than a year.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% from 4.8% in September.
About five million people have left the labour force since the pandemic started.