Payrolls Stateside Smash Estimates

Job growth in the U.S. blew past expectations in October and year-over-year wage gains jumped past 3% for the first time since the Great Recession,

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department showed non-farm payrolls powered up by 250,000 for the month, well ahead of estimates of 190,000. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%, the lowest since December 1969.

The ranks of the employed rose to a fresh record 156.6 million and the employment-to-population ratio increased to 60.6%, the highest level since December 2008, according to the department's household survey. That headline jobless number stayed level even amid a two-10ths of a percentage point rise in the labour force participation rate to 62.9%

Those counted as outside the labour force tumbled by 487,000 to 95.9 million.

But the bigger story may be wage growth, which has been the missing piece of the economic recovery. Average hourly earnings increased by five cents an hour for the month and 83 cents year-over-year, representing a 3.1% gain.

The latter number is being watched closely by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has increased its benchmark interest rate three times this year and is on track for a fourth quarter-point hike in December.