Today's latest employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is somewhat of a shocker, with a reported 203,000 new jobs added to the American economy. The data also showed the unemployment rate dipping down three tenths of a percent to an even 7 percent, which is the lowest it's been at any point during the last five years. According to the report, the number of people on temporary layoffs decreased by 377,000 - largely a reflection of federal employees returning to work after the partial government shutdown.
This is excellent news for all sectors of the American economy, and the data shows an acceleration of the recovery that has continued at a glacial pace since the recession technically ended in 2009. As other fundamentals of the economy have recovered at a faster pace throughout 2013 - housing, auto sales and consumer spending to name a few - hiring has remained too slow to significantly change the country's unemployment picture. Looking at the trend line for unemployment, the United States is poised to recover all the jobs lost during the recession within the next 10-12 months.
Here are a few excerpts from today's BLS report:
- Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.7 percent), adult women (6.2 percent), teenagers (20.8 percent), whites (6.2 percent), blacks (12.5 percent), and Hispanics (8.7 percent) changed little in November. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.
- The number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 300,000 in November, partially reflecting the return to work of federal employees on furlough in October. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.1 million in November. These individuals accounted for 37.3 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 718,000 over the past 12 months.
- The civilian labor force rose by 455,000 in November, after declining by 720,000 in October. The labor force participation rate changed little (63.0 percent) in November. Total employment as measured by the household survey increased by 818,000 over the month, following a decline of 735,000 in the prior month. This over-the-month increase in employment partly reflected the return to work of furloughed federal government employees. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage point to 58.6 percent in November, reversing a decline of the same size in the prior month.
- The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 331,000 to 7.7 million in November. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
- Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 31,000 in November, with gains in couriers and messengers (+9,000), truck transportation (+8,000), warehousing and storage (+5,000), and air transportation (+3,000).
- In November, manufacturing added 27,000 jobs. Within the industry, job gains occured in food manufacturing (+8,000) and in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000).
- In November, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+35,000). Over the prior 12 months, the industry added an average of 55,000 jobs per month.
- Retail trade employment also continued to expand in November (+22,000). Within the industry, job growth occurred in general merchandise stores (+14,000); in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+12,000); and in automobile dealers (+7,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in retail trade averaged 31,000 per month.
More information is available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.