Friday, December 2, 2011

Santa came early with November's job report

For the first time in a while, the monthly job report was solidly positive. The estimated, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate from the household survey fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest that figure has been since March of 2009. The proportion of the civilian, non-institutionalized population that was working rose to 58.5 percent, the best that figure has been in 8 months.

The improvement in the unemployment rate is a positive development. However, while many more people reported working last month, a portion of the drop in unemployment was due to an unexpected drop in the number of people in the labor force. The proportion of people in the labor force (people working or actively looking for work) fell to 64 percent, which keeps the number near 30-year lows).

The preliminary figures from the establishment survey indicate that 120,000 non-farm jobs were added on a seasonally-adjusted basis in November, while revisions to the figures for September and October added another 72,000 jobs. Altogether, the number of jobs in the current report was nearly 200,000 higher than the number reported in the previous report.

More working Americans is good news heading into the holiday season. Hopefully, many more people will be working before long.