Custom Search

Friday, December 07, 2012

Unemployment Drops To 7.7% But Labor Force Drops By 350,000

By Susan Duclos

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 146,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The U6, which is unemployment, underemployment and marginally attached workers is at 14.4 percent.

That is the good news.

The bad news explains why the unemployment report has "puzzling contradictions. The unemployment rate did not drop because more people are getting work but because more people have left the workforce altogether, 350,000 of them, bringing "labor force participation rate, already around 30-year lows, down to 63.6 percent."

[Update] Associated Press via Wapo:

And the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed.


 At the same time, the jobless rate fell to a near four-year low, but that was largely because so many Americans gave up the hunt for work.

From the Employment Situation Summary:

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. (See table A-1.)

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. (See table A-8.)

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. (See table A-16.)

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. (See table A-16.)

See Calculated Risk for chart comparing this so-called recovery to all others since the WWII recession.

Areas still at or above official unemployment rate:

Alabama- 8.1%
Arizona- 8.1%
California- 10.1%
Colorado- 7.9%
Connecticut- 9.0%
D.C.- 8.5%
Florida- 8.5%
Georgia- 8.7%
Illinois- 8.8%
Indiana- 8.0%
Kentucky- 8.4%
Michigan- 9.1%
Mississippi- 8.9%
Nevada- 11.5%
New Jersey- 9.7%
New York - 8.7%
North Carolina- 9.3%
Oregon- 8.6%
Pennsylvania- 8.1%
Rhode Island- 10.4%
South Carolina- 8.6%
Tennessee- 8.2%
Washington- 8.2%

Data obtained from Bureau of Labor Statistics on the Local Area Unemployment Statistics page. (Right side)


U.S. Small-Business Owners' Hiring Intentions Plunge To Tie Low Of 2008

Iowa Employer Confidence Plunges After Obama's Reelection- Obamacare, Regulations, Taxes Cited

Obama's Economic Policies Cited  As Reason Wisconsin Business Owners 38% Decrease In Planned Hirings