The finance sector gained 4,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonetheless, economists expect the sector to lose jobs over the next several months, and the October results don't make up for the 8,000 jobs the sector lost in September.
Real estate gained 4,800 jobs, while insurance carriers and related activities gained 2,500. Similar to last month, credit intermediation, which reflects jobs at commercial banks, lost 2,000 jobs.
"There's pressure on commercial banks," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight, an Englewood, Colorado-based financial and economic forecasting firm. "We're not going to see anything like we saw back in 2008, but we will probably see some job losses in the commercial banking sector over the next few months."
He pointed to Bank of America, which has plans to shed 30,000 jobs by 2014, as a culprit for job losses in the commercial banking sector. BofA closed 27 branches in the third quarter as part of its plan to close 10% of its 5,742 banking centers.
JPMorgan also revised its strategy to expand its retail network.
The future is likely grim when it comes to the finance sector, at least for the next several months, according to Gault.
"Given the turmoil in global financial markets and given the reduction in banks' profitability, we're going to see job cuts," he said. "My guess is this month's number is going to prove the exception rather than the rule."
The larger economy added 80,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9% from 9.1%. August and September's numbers were revised upward for a combined 102,000 jobs, which is "encouraging," Gault said.
"It's encouraging that the U.S. so far seems to have weathered the storm from the eurozone and shocks from Washington with the debt ceiling crisis," he said. "We're still moving forward, but of course those storms aren't necessarily finished. But it's not a recession."
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julie.Steinberg@dowjones.com