According to data released by the United States Department of Labor, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 146,000 job in November. This in turn helped to drop the national unemployment rate to 7.7 percent. This is the lowest the unemployment rate has been in four years, although the ongoing ‘fiscal cliff’ budget negotiation in Washington may have an effect on it in coming months.
“It looks like the job market is holding firm,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “That’s encouraging in light of the fiscal uncertainties.”
There is one less encouraging aspect to the November report, however. There was a drop in the size of the labor force, which indicates the data may have been somewhat affected by some job seekers giving up on their work searches.
Prior to the November Employment Situation report being released, economists had predicted a rise in non-farm employment of around 93,000 jobs. The unemployment rate had been predicted to remain at 7.9 percent, where it stood for the month of October. The November report also included revisions to both the September and October data indicating that 49,000 fewer jobs had been created than originally reported for those months.
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and President Barack Obama’s chief economist on December 7th. Krueger has stated for several months that more needs to be done, even while remaining upbeat about progress on job growth.
Despite expectations to the contrary, Superstorm Sandy did not have a large impact on job numbers for the month of November. “Our analysis leads us to conclude that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November,” said John Galvin, acting commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Revisions to the data are not uncommon as more complete data is compiled and added to the existing data and estimates. The survey that assists in compiling the data for the report is conducted in mid-month, and for November may have missed some Northeast households affected or displaced by Hurricane Sandy. “I think these numbers will be revised as they get more information,” said Zandi. “The survey responses probably were very weak coming from New York and New Jersey.”
The Employment Situation Report – November 2012
United States Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics Frequently Asked Questions
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (Special programs in locations declared by the President as disaster areas.)
Who Is Counted as Unemployed?
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