Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 146,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the lowest level of unemployment since December 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment increased in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care, but the number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, changed little.
Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeast on October 29, did not |substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.
“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,” Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement. “It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.
“Most pressing, President Obama has proposed, and the Senate has passed, an extension of middle class income tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers.
“Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 147,000 jobs last month. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 146,000 jobs in November. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 33 straight months, and a total of 5.6 million jobs have been added during that period, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision,” Krueger stated.
“The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest since December 2008. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point last month. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.0 percentage point as a result of growing employment, and the labor force participation rate has been essentially unchanged.”
According to the establishment survey, in November employment rose notably in retail trade (+52,600), professional and business services (+43,000), and leisure and hospitality (+23,000). Manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs, and construction was down 20,000. However, the manufacturing sector has added jobs in 28 of the last 34 months, gaining half a million jobs over that period, the most for any such period since the mid-1990s.
Government lost 1,000 jobs, as federal government payrolls decreased by 5,000, state government payrolls increased by 6,000, and local government payrolls declined by 2,000.
“As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available,” Krueger stated.
Demographics of Unemployment Has Implications for Policy
The demographics of unemployment – particularly long term unemployment – has implications for the policies being negotiated by Congress and the White House.
These are not just statistics or aggregated numbers, they are individuals who find themselves spending down savings, seeing hopes of college, home ownership disappear. What is more, the longer people are out of work, the harder it is to find a job, let alone a job at a comparable rung on the career ladder or at the salary level. Multiply those losses over a lifetime, and there are significant, permanent consequences.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported:
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.8 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent) showed little or no change in November. The unemployment rate for blacks (13.2 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.8 million in November. These individuals accounted for 40.1 percent of the unemployed.
The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 63.6 percent in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October. Total employment was about unchanged in November, following a combined increase of 1.3 million over the prior 2 months. The employment-population ratio, at 58.7 percent, changed little in November.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 8.2 million in November, was little changed over the month. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In November, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 979,000 discouraged workers in November, little changed from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Strongest Gains in Retail, Health Care, Hospitality, Business Services
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November. Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly job gain of 153,000 in 2011. In November, employment rose in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.
Retail trade employment rose by 53,000 in November and has increased by 140,000 over the past 3 months. Over the month, job gains occurred in clothing and clothing accessory stores (+33,000), in general merchandise stores (+10,000), and in electronics and appliance stores (+9,000). Employment in miscellaneous store retailers decreased by 13,000.
In November, employment in professional and business services rose by 43,000. Employment continued to increase in computer systems design and related services.
Health care employment continued to increase in November (+20,000), with gains in hospitals (+8,000) and in nursing care facilities (+5,000). Health care has added an average of 26,000 jobs per month this year.
Employment in wholesale trade edged up over the month (+13,000). Since reaching an employment trough in May 2010, the industry has added 228,000 jobs.
Information employment also edged up in November (+12,000), with the increase concentrated in motion picture and sound recording (+15,000). On net, information employment has changed little over the past 12 months.
In November, leisure and hospitality employment continued to trend up (+23,000). Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 305,000 jobs.
Employment in construction declined by 20,000 in November, with much of the loss occurring in construction of buildings (-11,000). Since early 2010, employment in construction has shown no clear trend.
Manufacturing employment changed little over the month. Within the industry, job losses in food manufacturing (-12,000) and chemicals (-9,000) more than offset gains in motor vehicles and parts (+10,000) and wood products (+3,000). On net, manufacturing employment has changed little since this past spring.
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, showed little change in November.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 34.4 hours in November. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.
In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $23.63. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7 percent. In November, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 3 cents to $19.84.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +148,000 to +132,000, and the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.