Job growth rebounded in October after two months of lackluster growth caused by the spread of the Delta variant. With COVID-19 cases slowing in many regions, hiring picked up last month as more people returned to the job market.

Employers added 531,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists had forecast about 450,000 jobs to be created. The nation’s unemployment rate declined to 4.6%, from 4.8% in September, the lowest since March of 2020, when joblessness jumped to 4.4% after COVID-19 started to spread.

The rebound in hiring may also reflect the September expiration of the enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits, which may at last be pushing some workers to return to the job market, noted Goldman Sachs analysts. With COVID cases easing, more employers and workers are feeling confident about hiring and returning to work, analysts said.

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