Job gains continue and unemployment falls to 5.1%
I remember several years ago when Warren Buffet explained that employment wouldn’t rebound until the construction industry turned the corner after the Great Recession. Well, if you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of construction projects out there now, particularly in cities as diverse as Miami and Cleveland as new apartment complexes and hotels are sprouting up.
Some who are obsessed with the stock market and the Fed’s decision on interested rates may be disappointed in today’s jobs report. Other with a political ax to grind will complain about the low participation rate, of course without acknowledging how that may be affected by today’s sharing economy.
The real message is that steady job growth continues. Yes, the economy still has challenges, but if you’re looking for work there are jobs out there.
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October
The October jobs report was surprisingly strong in light of the government shutdown inflicted on the American economy.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.
The key issue with these numbers remains the size of the workforce. It remains to be seen how accurately these government surveys are in light of new trends where people work at home. Look at these numbers:
While the economy has been miserable for small business, and many larger ones as well, the ranks of the self-employed have been growing. According to research by Economic Modeling Specialists International, the number of people who primarily work on their own has swelled by 1.3 million since 2001 to 10.6 million, a 14% increase.
How does this factor into the unemployment trends? Nobody seems to be talking about this when the jobs numbers come out.
Jobless rate falls
Stocks jumped on this news as the report was expected to be bad. Again, the Labor Deportment made significant upward revisions to reports from previous months.
Overall the unemployment rate is at a 4-year low of 7.5%. Of course there’s a long way to go but at least we’re making some steady progress.
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More construction jobs added
Warren Buffett famously declared that the slumping US economy would have trouble rebounding until housing stabilized and we started seeing new construction jobs. Well, there’s been plenty of good news on the housing front, and now we’re seeing good news on construction jobs in the latest jobs report.
After five years of hemorrhaging jobs, the construction industry has become one of the bright spots of the labor market — a hopeful sign that one of the most damaged sectors of the economy may finally be starting to heal.
Overall, the government’s monthly jobs report, released Friday, showed continued modest growth in December. The economy added 155,000 jobs, on par with the monthly average for both 2012 and 2011. The unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent.
But a closer look reveals that nearly one-fifth of the jobs created were in construction, marking only the third time since the recession ended in June 2009 that the industry has added 30,000 workers or more. The surge capped one of the largest three-month gains the sector has seen since the recession began in December 2007.
The return of construction jobs is an especially critical component of the economic recovery. That’s partly because of the sheer number of jobs lost — more than 2 million since 2007 — but also because of fears that many of those workers’ skills may not translate to other industries, rendering them permanently unemployable.
This should help to turbocharge the overall job market. If you’ve given up looking for work, not is the time to get back at it.
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Solid job growth continues
The economy continues its slow and steady recovery. Job growth was solid but not spectacular again last month, which has some political implications as well.
The last remaining political land mine embedded in Barack Obama’s path to reelection has failed to detonate.
With time fast running out, the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the last monthly jobs report we’ll see in this election. The news was unexpectedly decent: 171,000 nonfarm jobs added in October, and unemployment essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent.
What’s more, the August numbers were revised upwards from 142,000 to 192,000, and the September numbers were boosted from 114,000 to 148,000. This suggests the possibility that something was stirring in the economy that we hadn’t picked up, and could help explain why Obama’s small but seemingly durable edge in the electoral college has persisted.
These are solid numbers for President Obama‘s campaign in a super close election as the unemployment rate stayed below 8%. The Mitt Romney campaign will point it that the rate ticked up a tenth of a point.
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Tags: Barack Obama, jobless claims, Mitt Romney, President Obama, presidential campaign, solid job growth, solid job numbers, unemployment, unemployment numbers, unemployment rate, US unemployment, weekly jobless claims