Federal Unemployment Rate Declines to 10.0% in November 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has produced its latest snapshot of the employment situation in the United States and has found that the unemployment rate has declined a little:

The unemployment rate edged down to 10.0 percent in November, and nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged (-11,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In the prior 3 months, payroll job losses had averaged 135,000 a month. In November, employment fell in construction,
manufacturing, and information, while temporary help services and health care added jobs.

Household Survey Data

In November, both the number of unemployed persons, at 15.4 million, and the unemployment rate, at 10.0 percent, edged down. At the start of the recession
in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons was 7.5 million, and the jobless rate was 4.9 percent. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates for adult men (10.5 percent), adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (26.7 percent), whites (9.3 percent), blacks (15.6 percent), and Hispanics (12.7 percent) showed little change in November. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs fell by 463,000 in November. The number of long-term unemployed
(those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 293,000 to 5.9 million. The percentage of unemployed persons jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 2.7 percentage points to 38.3 percent. (See tables A-8 and A-9.)

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed in November at 65.0 percent. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.5 percent. (See table A-1.)

I suspect these figures will be greatly spun over the next few days. My interpretation is that the employment situation remains very phlegmatic and is likely to do so for some time. I’m sure that others will be throwing ticker tape parades over the nearly insignificant change in statistical status. One data point doth not a trend make.

I honestly don’t see any way we’ll see a robust recovery predicated on temps and home healthcare workers.

3 comments… add one
  • In looking at the underlying numbers behind this drop, it is largely due to a larger number of people simply leaving the labor market than jobs being created. You are right much bleating about this will take place, but I don’t see all that much to get excited about. When the change in the number of employed is larger than change in the number of the unemployed then it will be something to point at as a good sign.

  • Brett Link

    It’s not really much cause for joy if there’s no strong job creation occurring. This, assuming it continues, just puts us back in the 2002-2007 boat, where you had fairly anemic job growth over the period even after job loss slowed down.

  • steve Link

    OT, but please comment on the CBPP report.



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