Friday, December 02, 2011

Employment Summary, Part Time Workers, and Unemployed over 26 Weeks

by Bill McBride on 12/02/2011 10:10:00 AM

This was another weak report, and the headline number was slightly below consensus forecasts. However there were some positives too: the unemployment rate declined to 8.6% and the payroll employment was revised up for September and October.

There were only 120,000 jobs added in November. There were 140,000 private sector jobs added, and 20,000 government jobs lost.

The change in total employment was revised up for September and October. "The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +158,000 to +210,000, and the change for October was revised from +80,000 to +100,000."

The household survey showed an increase of 278,000 jobs in November. This increase in the household survey - along with a 315,000 decline in the labor force - pushed the unemployment rate down sharply to 8.6%. The participation rate fell to 64.0%, and the employment population ratio increased to 58.5%. This is the fourth straight monthly increase in the employment population ratio from the low in July at 58.1%.

U-6, an alternate measure of labor underutilization that includes part time workers and marginally attached workers, declined to 15.6% - this remains very high. U-6 was in the 8% range in 2007.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.3 hours, and average hourly earnings decreased slightly. "The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in November ... Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased in November by 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.18. ... Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.8 percent." This is sluggish earnings growth, and earnings are being impacted by the large number of unemployed and marginally employed workers.

Through the first eleven months of 2011, the economy has added 1.448 million total non-farm jobs or just 131 thousand per month. This is a better pace of payroll job creation than last year, but the economy still has 6.2 million fewer payroll jobs than at the beginning of the 2007 recession. The economy has added 1.711 million private sector jobs this year, or about 156 thousand per month.

There are a total of 13.3 million Americans unemployed and 5.7 million have been unemployed for more than 6 months. Very grim.

Overall this was another weak employment report and suggests sluggish economic growth.

Percent Job Losses During Recessions

Percent Job Losses During RecessionsClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms - this time aligned at maximum job losses.

In the previous post, the graph showed the job losses aligned at the start of the employment recession.

The following graph shows the employment population ratio, the participation rate, and the unemployment rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment rates The unemployment rate declined to 8.6% (red line).

The Labor Force Participation Rate was declined to 64.0% in November (blue line). This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years, although some of the decline is due to the aging population.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 58.5% in November (black line).

Note: the household survey showed another strong gain in jobs, and that - combined with a decline in the labor force - is why the unemployment rate declined sharply with few payroll jobs added.

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) dropped by 378,000 over the month to 8.5 million.
The number of workers only able to find part time jobs (or have had their hours cut for economic reasons) decreased to 8.5 million in November from 9.27 million in October. This just reverses some of the increase in August and September.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that decreased to 15.6% in November from 16.2% in October.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks This graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 5.691 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was down from 5.876 million in October. This is still very high, but this is the lowest number since Oct 2009. Long term unemployment remains a serious problem.

More graphs coming ...