US Unemployment Rate Falls to 7.7% from 7.9%:Positive trend continues

 

The latest U.S. unemployment rate shows a continuation of the positive trend of lower unemployment and a gradually healing eeconomy. The headline rate for November 2012 dropped two tenths of a percentage point to 7.7 % from its October rate of 7.9 %.It was 8.7 % a year ago this November.The broader definition of unemployment which includes the headline number plus all persons marginally attached to the the labour force plus all those employed part-time for economic reasons when they would rather work full time as a percentage of the civilian labour force plus all persons marginally attached also fell to 14.4 % from 14.6 % last month. This rate was 14.7 % in September 2012 and 15.0 % a year ago this past November. So slow but steady progress continues. The rate for men over 20 is now 7.2%, women over 20 7.0 % , teens 16-19 23.5 % white people 6.8 % black or African Americans 13.2 % down from 14.3 % last month and 15.5% a year ago; Hispanics 10.0 % down from 11.4 % a year ago. The rate for Asian American workers was 6.4 % largely unchanged from the 6.5 % rate  a year ago.

The employment to population ratio is now 58.7 % up from 58.5 % a year ago but down from 58.8 5 last month. The number of people employed is 143.262 million down from 143.384 last month but up from the 140.614 reported a year ago.

The participation rate was 63.6 % down from 63.8 % last month and 64.0 % a year ago. Here again we need to be cautious about interpreting the statistic because of growing retirements among older baby boomers. All in all the results are encouraging although there is still plenty of distance to travel to restore prosperity.

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization (Courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics)

[Percent]
Measure Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Nov.
2011
Oct.
2012
Nov.
2012
Nov.
2011
July
2012
Aug.
2012
Sept.
2012
Oct.
2012
Nov.
2012
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force 4.9 4.3 4.2 5.0 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.4 4.3
U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force 4.7 3.9 3.9 4.9 4.6 4.5 4.2 4.2 4.1
U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate) 8.2 7.5 7.4 8.7 8.3 8.1 7.8 7.9 7.7
U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers 8.9 8.0 7.9 9.3 8.8 8.6 8.3 8.4 8.3
U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force 9.7 9.0 8.8 10.2 9.7 9.6 9.3 9.3 9.2
U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force 15.0 13.9 13.9 15.6 15.0 14.7 14.7 14.6 14.4
NOTE: Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.According to Statisics Canada the unemployment rate in Canada fell to 7.2 % from 7.4 % also a positive development.
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About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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