NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Though the headline number of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' October jobs report, which was released Friday morning, may have missed expectations, some of the underlying numbers suggest that the economy is nearing full employment.
Non-farm payrolls only increased by 161,000, economists had expected 173,000, but overall unemployment dropped by a tenth of a point to 4.9%. More importantly, wages have increased by 2.8% over the last 12 months, the best figure since the recession.
"Workers have been looking for a meaningful raise for quite some time. They deserve that raise," Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Friday. "And we're seeing this sustained evidence that they're getting it."
Despite the strong unemployment number, the labor force participation rate now sits at 62.8%, according to the report, a one-tenth of a percentage point drop month-to-month. The labor force participation rate measures the percentage of adults in a population working or looking for a job.
"The participation rate is a little higher than it was a year ago," Perez said. "And don't forget we're swimming into demographic headwinds, although I mixed that metaphor."