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Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008


This news story was published on December 8, 2012.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, changed little.

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.

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. (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.

Establishment Survey Data

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.

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3 Responses to Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

  1. Avatar

    a citizen Reply Report comment

    December 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    When you say “unemployment is down because peoples benefits are running out and they still don’t have jobs”, the questions that should be asked are, are there jobs out there, maybe a person will need to relocate to get it, or maybe change his/her field of work to apply, or maybe have to accept a lower wage or less benefits, or is it that people so comfortable with their EUC benefits that they have no incentive to look for a job?

  2. Avatar

    Midwest Reply Report comment

    December 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    The media will not give ANY bad news that would hurt Obama in any way. Hows that clean up from Sandy going? Pretty slow. If it wasn’t Obama in office the media would be all over it like when Bush was in office.

  3. Avatar

    Dave Reply Report comment

    December 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    The only reason they can say unemployment is down is because peoples benefits are running out and they still don’t have jobs so they are going without. So Obama thinks he is helping this country when it is still only getting worse. Another place closed its doors this last week in my home town putting 95 workers out of work. So does that not count ?