The economy added 151,000 jobs in October, the biggest increase since May, but the employment-to-population (EPOP) ratio still fell by 0.2 percentage points to 58.3 percent, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report. The pace of job growth is about 50,000 above what is needed to keep even with the growth of the labor market. However, at this rate it would take more than 15 years to make up the job shortfall from the downturn. At least the economy is moving in the right direction.

The decline in the EPOP, which is just above the 58.2 percent low reached in December of last year, was primarily due to a falloff among whites. The EPOP for white men fell by 0.4 percentage points to 67.7 percent, just 0.3 percentage points above the low hit last December. The EPOP for white women fell by 0.3 percentage points to 53.3 percent, a new low for the downturn and the lowest EPOP for white women since October of 1993. By contrast, blacks saw a modest increase in their EPOP from 51.7 percent in September to 52.4 percent in October. In the report for September, the EPOP for black men aged 20 and over had fallen 0.5 percentage points in the month and 2.6 percentage points for African-American teens.

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