U.S. businesses added 250,000 jobs in October, more than double the gain in September, according to U.S. Labor Department reports. They included retail employees working in stores but exclude corporate headquarters, distribution and call centers.
Average hourly earnings were up 83 cents an hour in October compared to a year ago. The 3.1 percent year-over-year increase in wages was the first time the wage growth rate had topped 3 percent since April of 2009.
Rising wages and the nation’s relatively low 3.7 percent unemployment rate have encouraged retailers nationwide that holiday sales will be strong this year.
“Employment gains across the country are likely to remain strong with unemployment dipping even further,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. “The dual effects of increased jobs and higher wages sets in motion households’ ability and presumed willingness to spend.”