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Friday, November 02, 2012

October Employment Report: 171,000 Jobs, 7.9% Unemployment Rate

by Calculated Risk on 11/02/2012 08:30:00 AM

From the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
[Household survey] The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8 percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to +192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.
Payroll jobs added per month Click on graph for larger image.

With 171,000 payroll jobs added, and the upward revisions to the August and September reports, this was a solid report. And that doesn't include the annual benchmark revision to be released early next year that will also show more jobs.

This was above expectations of 125,000 payroll jobs added.

The second graph shows the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.9%.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment ratesThe unemployment rate is from the household report, and that report showed another month of strong job growth. The unemployment rate increased because of the significant increase in the labor force (and the increase in the labor force participation rate).

The third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment rates The Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 63.8% in October (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 most of the recent decline is due to demographics.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 58.8% in October (black line). I'll post the 25 to 54 age group employment-population ratio graph later.

Percent Job Losses During Recessions The fourth graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms, compared to previous post WWII recessions. The dotted line is ex-Census hiring.

This shows the depth of the recent employment recession - worse than any other post-war recession - and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis.

The fifth graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms compared to other financial crisis (including the Great Depression).

Percent Job Losses during Financial CrisisThis is an update to a graph by economist Josh Lehner (ht Josh for the data):
[I]n the context of the Big 5 financial crises, the current U.S. cycle suddenly does not look quite as dire. Notice how the x-axis, how long it takes to return to peak levels of employment, is measured in years(!) not months like the first graph.
[T]he U.S. labor market has performed better than 4 of the previous Big 5 crises, as identified by Reinhart and Rogoff, in terms of job loss and the return to peak time line.
Including the upward revisions, this was a much stronger report than for recent months. I'll have much more later ...