The government changed the "seasonal adjustment" it made to the payroll numbers--and, in so doing, boosted the number of "jobs" created in October by 100,000.
Stephanie Pomboy of MacroMavens (via John Mauldin) explains:
" 'The seasonal bar which the payroll data must jump was (inexplicably and dramatically) lowered from prior Octobers.
" 'Thus, in October 2009, the BLS set the bar at 870,000 jobs, similar to the 840,000 it anticipated in October 2008. This year, by contrast, it lowered the bar to 768,000. Mumbo, jumbo, payrolls presented "an upside surprise" of 100,000.'
Alan Abelson of Barrons (again via John Mauldin) adds the following:
"According to John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics, the BLS' fiddling with the figures via what he calls 'seasonal-factor games' actually created 200,000 phantom jobs last month. John cites such finagling as the reason his prediction of an October decline and a rise in the jobless rate was wrong. It also explains why seasonally adjusted payrolls were revised upward by 110,000 in September, including 56,000 in August."
In other words, it wasn't that there were a surprising number of jobs created in October. It was that the government changed its "seasonal adjustment" assumption in a way that made it look as though there were a surprising number of jobs created in October.