The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in October and the unemployment rate fell sharply even as Americans continue to grapple with Covid-19 and its dampening impact on business.The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 638,000 and the unemployment rate was at 6.9%, both better than expectations of 530,000 jobs added and an unemployment rate of 7.7%.- Advertisement – The professional and business services sector was a bright spot in October with a net addition of 208,000 jobs. The government said about half of that gain was thanks to the hiring of temporary help workers.Employment also increased in services to buildings and dwellings (+19,000), computer systems design and related services (+16,000), and management and technical consulting services (+15,000).“Notable job gains occurred over the month in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction,” the government said in a release.“Retail trade added 104,000 jobs, with almost one-third of the gain in electronics and appliance stores (+31,000),” the Labor Department added. “Employment also rose in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+23,000), furniture and home furnishings stores (+14,000), clothing and clothing accessories stores (+13,000), general merchandise stores (+10,000), and nonstore retailers (+9,000).”— CNBC’s Nate Rattner and Crystal Mercedes contributed reporting. The sector, which added 271,000 jobs last month, saw about 80% of that growth from restaurants and bars that rehired workers even as the U.S. set records for new daily Covid-19 infections. Despite the labor market’s stronger October, employment was below its February level by 10.1 million, or 6.6%.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – While much of the month’s upside came from the food service industry, some of the largest losses came from the public sector. Government employment fell by 268,000 across federal, state and local levels.Government hiring has been choppy in recent months thanks to a combination of volatility in federal hiring for the 2020 Census as well as weak demand for workers at public schools and universities.On the federal level, the Labor Department said government employment decreased by 138,000 thanks to a loss of 147,000 temporary 2020 Census workers. On the state and local levels, education employment fell by 61,400 and 97,800, respectively. CNBC studied the net changes by industry for October jobs based on data contained in the employment report.The leisure and hospitality industry continued its rebound after the coronavirus and efforts to contain its spread walloped spending at restaurants, hotels and bars earlier in the year. – Advertisement –
MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors on a split vote approved amending their policies for the continuation of health insurance for retiring employees and for elected officials leaving office.The supervisors 20 years ago approved a program where certain retirees could obtain county-paid single health insurance, with the program being cut off for any non-bargaining employees hired after 2010 and union members hired after 2011.The county’s director of administrative services Tom Meyer says if everybody took the program when they could, the max premiums in today’s dollars is $4.4 million over 30 years as the program runs out and winds down. Meyer says the county’s insurance broker says that could have a big impact in the future for the county. “His projections, based on if everybody takes the program when they can at the age they could, we’d probably have to address at some point not a normal premium increase but we have to address the increased claims that come with more people on the plan. Once again, those are variable, but we’re looking at 10 years down the road or more, but there would have to probably be some adjustments in how much money is going into the plan because we are self funded.”Supervisor Casey Callanan says the insurance benefit is not self-sustaining. “Our legal counsel represents about 60 counties. There’s not one county in the state of Iowa that has a legal benefit like this. It’s just not financially sustainable is what it comes down to, and the only way to address it is to have it sunset, raise taxes, cut services, pass the money on to our current employees that are on the plan. Right now we don’t require our employees, individuals, to contribute anything into health insurance. I looked at a million different options as to how to potentially make this viable, and I wasn’t able to find one.”Callanan says as an elected official, he feels the supervisors have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. “They are the ones that are funding this. As badly as I feel for the employees that are just going to be miss out on this, unfortunately I feel worse for the taxpayers of Cerro Gordo County that are funding employees to be retired for up to seven years with a pretty rich benefit. This is not a knock on our employees, our employees work hard and do a good job. It’s not something that we started, but it’s something we need to address.”Supervisor Tim Latham voted against the resolutions. “I understand where Casey is coming from, I understand where the employees are coming from. I talked to a dozen easily and addressed another two dozen e-mails to people yesterday. This is probably one of the toughest things that’s come forward to us.”Latham wanted to delay the board’s decision for two weeks to see if there was a better solution for all parties involved. “I know we’ve talked a lot about out, but I’d like to sit down — it does say we can kill it in 60 days, but I’m not looking to do that, but I’d like to maybe modify the program to make it more feasible. Maybe put half a dozen or a dozen people together that are going to be involved in this and maybe sit down and talk about it.”Callanan and Chris Watts voted to approve resolutions to sunset the insurance policy, while Latham was the lone no vote.