Unemployment Rate Falls
The national unemployment rate shrank slightly in November, edging down to 8.6 percent from the previous month’s 9 percent rate. Growth was limited to the civilian and private business sectors where employment rose by 120,000 nonfarm jobs. Greatest gains were made in the areas of retail, health care, hospitality, and business services. Federal, state, and local government job rates continue their downward trend.
Demographically, adult males saw the greatest reduction in unemployment for the month falling to 8.3 percent from October’s 8.8 percent. Unemployment for whites also fell to 7.6 percent. Rates for adult women (7.8 percent), teens (23.7 percent), blacks (15.5 percent), Hispanics (11.4 percent), and Asians (6.5 percent) were stagnant.
Those individuals out of work for at least 27 weeks, accounting for 43 percent of those jobless, held at 5.7 million. Involuntary part-time workers fell approximately 4 percent declined to 8.5 million. The number of “discouraged” workers, those who have decided not to look for work due to their perceptions of the job market, fell to 1.1 million people, down 14 percent from October.
Since 2010, retailers averaged 14,000 jobs added per month. Most of the retail gains seen in November (50,000 jobs) were found in clothing stores (over 27,000 jobs) and electronics stores (over 5,000). The hospitality industry grew by 22,000 jobs, business services by 33,000 jobs, health care by 17,000 jobs, and manufacturing by 8,000 jobs. Government employment fell substantially, owing largely to the 5,000 job cuts made by the ailing U.S. Postal Service, but indicative of the sector’s continuing decline since late 2008.