An Analysis of Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Report

The full report can be seen here:

In January of 2008–24 months ago–the U.S. labor market began losing jobs, which by January of this year was happening at a rate of nearly 800,000 per month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of this morning, that hemorrhaging has slowed to just 11,000 jobs in November or essentially nil. The unemployment rate also declined from 10.2 percent to 10 percent. The numbers for September and October were also revised to show a loss of 139,000 jobs in September from the previously reported 219,000, and October to 111,000 instead of 190,000. Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, the unemployment rate has risen from 4.9 percent and the total number of unemployed has swelled from 7.5 to 15.4 million people.
The unemployment rate for management, professional and related occupations has now fallen nearly a full point from its 5.5 percent peak four months ago, to 4.6 percent in November. The total number of unemployed professionals topped out then at just over 3 million people and has since dropped to 2.5 million. One of the top gaining job categories in November was administrative and support services which, after having been decimated over the last two years, added 86,900 jobs during the month, with 52,400 of those coming from temporary help services. Overall, professional and business services added 86,000 jobs, and for the first time in years, beat out education and health services (+40,000) as the top jobs gainer.
After two years of job losses, today’s virtually flat numbers are good, but they are still tempered by the 15 million people who remain unemployed and the millions more under-employed. Should the current number of people out of work continue for an extended period of time, there will remain the threat of a double-dip recession dragged down by sluggish consumer spending. However, many signs show that both job creation and underemployment are at last on the mend. The total number of part-time workers fell in November by 104,000, while the number of full-time workers rose by 140,000. The average workweek also added two-tenths of an hour after having lost eight-tenths since the beginning of the recession. Average weekly earnings surged to a high of $630.14, $10.18 more than in October and $10.06 more than the figure’s last peak one year ago.

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