Economics Professor Bill Seyfried Comments on Today’s Jobs Report
The November employment report contained mixed news. The headline will be that the unemployment rate declined from 9% to 8.6%, the lowest since March 2009. Part of this reflects job gains, but an important reason was a significant decline in the labor force. Surprisingly, the entire decline was due to about 350,000 adult women exiting the job market, the largest decline since the beginning of the Great Recession. The establishment survey indicated that there was an increase of 120,000 jobs in November, but a decline in average earnings. This is explained by the types of jobs created. The top three industries with employment gains (seasonally adjusted) were (1) food service and drinking places (+32,700); (2) clothing stores (+26,700); and (3) temporary help services (+22,300). Thus two-thirds of the job gains for November were in three relatively low-paying industries. Overall, it continues to confirm that the U.S. is experiencing a sluggish economic recovery.