Food manufacturing continued its trend of adding jobs last month, according to the latest employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sector added 6,200 jobs, for a total of 1,620,100. This contributed to a 638,000 net job gain, which brought the unemployment rate down 1.0 percentage point to 6.9%.

Employment in food manufacturing has been steadily increasing. On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 1,612,100 jobs in August and 1,613,900 in September. While the number of jobs has recovered significantly since its pandemic low (1,567,200 in April 2020), it remains well below the pre-pandemic number (1,655,700 in February 2020).

As a whole, manufacturing added 38,000 jobs in October, but the overall number of manufacturing jobs is 621,000 short of what it was in February.

There are still 11.1 million people unemployed in the United States. And that’s just the number that goes into calculating the official unemployment rate. There are also 6.7 million people not currently in the labor force who want a job, and an additional 6.7 million who want to be working full-time but aren’t because their hours were reduced or they have been unable to find full-time work.