Unemployment Rate Climbs in November To 9.8 Percent
According to the latest unemployment figures issued by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate increased to 9.8 percent in November. It was 9.6 percent during the months of August, September, and October.
Some days, it's embarrassing to be a professional economist. On Monday [Sept. 20, 2010] the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) officially declared that our recession had ended — 15 months ago. Yes, that's right, just as more and more analysts are worried about the economy imploding again, the NBER announces that the recession ended back in June 2009. The whole episode underscores the crudity of mainstream economics. The NBER's delayed calls on the start and end of business cycles are fodder for late-night comedians. The average American knew full well the economy was in trouble well before the NBER announced it, and the average American knows full well that our economy is still in serious trouble.
There are officially 15.1 million Americans unemployed. However the actual unemployment numbers are much higher than that, because the BLS doesn't count those workers who didn’t look for a job within the 4 weeks preceding its unemployment survey as being unemployed. For example, 2.5 million unemployed Americans were not counted in the November survey because they essentially were “discouraged” and gave up looking for a job. If those 2.5 million workers were included in the November unemployment figures, the unemployment rate would be 11.4 percent.
The BLS monthly unemployment figures also don’t include the 9 million workers that are working part time and not by choice, but because of “unfavorable business conditions” and their inability to find full-time work. Those part time workers are counted as being employed. The BLS defines a part time worker as someone that works 1 to 34 hours per week. The average work week for all private (non-farm) employees in November was 34.3 hours. In other words, according to the BLS data, if the average American worker has his or her work-week cut by 18 minutes, then he or she will be considered a part time worker.
In November, there was a net gain of 39,000 jobs. According to labor experts, it takes the creation of about 100,000 new jobs each month just to absorb new entrants into the American workforce. In other words, it will take the creation of 400,000 new American jobs every month for the next two years to absorb new entrants into the work force and bring the unemployment level down to 5 percent which is considered to be a "full employment" level by many economists.
November’s leaders in new job creation were Temporary Help Services (39,500), Education and Health Services (30,000), and Health Care and Social Assistance (23,100). Retail Trade lost 28,100 jobs. The Goods Producing Industry lost 15,000 jobs. The Manufacturing Industry lost 13,000 jobs. And the Construction Industry lost 5,000 jobs. The unemployment rate in Management, Business, Financial, Professional, Health Care, Education, and Government occupations continues to be well below the national unemployment rate, averaging about 4.7 percent which is the rate which many economists would consider as “full employment”.
41.9 percent of those currently counted as unemployed (6.3 million) have been out of work for 6 months or more. Of course that figure doesn’t include the millions of unemployed which the BLS doesn’t count every month because they gave up looking for a job.
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