The Employment Situation in November
While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.
Most pressing, President Obama has proposed, and the Senate has passed, an extension of middle class income tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers.
Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 147,000 jobs last month. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 146,000 jobs in November. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 33 straight months, and a total of 5.6 million jobs have been added during that period, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision.
The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest since December 2008. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point last month. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.0 percentage point as a result of growing employment, and the labor force participation rate has been essentially unchanged.
According to the establishment survey, in November employment rose notably in retail trade (+52,600), professional and business services (+43,000), and leisure and hospitality (+23,000). Manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs, and construction was down 20,000. However, the manufacturing sector has added jobs in 28 of the last 34 months, gaining half a million jobs over that period, the most for any such period since the mid-1990s.
Government lost 1,000 jobs, as federal government payrolls decreased by 5,000, state government payrolls increased by 6,000, and local government payrolls declined by 2,000.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.