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On the Job

October BLS report shows minimal changes, except for strike

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 150,000 in October, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported November 3. Job gains occurred in health care, government, and social assistance. Employment declined in manufacturing “due to strike activity”, according to the BLS report, referring to the United Auto Workers strike.

Specifically, healthcare added 58,000 jobs in October, in line with the average monthly gain of 53,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care services (+32,000), hospitals (+18,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+8,000). In October, construction employment continued to trend up (+23,000), about in line with the average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months. Employment continued to trend up over the month in specialty trade contractors (+14,000) and construction of buildings (+6,000). Employment in manufacturing decreased by 35,000 in October, reflecting a decline of 33,000 in motor vehicles and parts that was largely due to strike activity.

In a blog post November 6, the BLS also honored workers from the past in a moving tribute:

"Today’s Commissioner’s Corner blog is in tribute to the memory of the 146 workers who tragically lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. It was prepared by staff who work on the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics Program."

On October 11, 2023, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su joined President Jim Thornton of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and New York Governor Kathy Hochul in dedicating a memorial in New York City to honor the 146 garment workers who tragically lost their lives in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

The stainless-steel memorial stands on the very spot where the fire occurred in Manhattan, NY. The central part of the memorial takes the form of a ribbon. The names and ages of the victims are stenciled into the ribbon and can be seen in a reflective panel at ground level. Patterns and textures from a 300-foot-long cloth ribbon formed from individual pieces of fabric and sewn together by volunteers are etched into the steel ribbon. When complete, the ribbon will descend from the 9th floor, where most of the victims perished.

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