Foodservice Equipment Reports

Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.6% In November On 120,000 New Jobs

The national news and business media worked hard parsing last week’s report on employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reasons were simple, if the details weren’t: The unemployment rate surprisingly dropped from 9% to 8.6%, yet it was another ho-hum month of jobs growth with only 120,000 net new nonfarm payroll jobs created.

The disparity comes from the fact BLS actually has two separate surveys, the Household Survey, which polls families and individuals, and the Establishment Survey, which checks with employers. The unemployment rate comes from the Household Survey and the jobs numbers from the Establishment Survey.

Many analysts made much of a 315,000 drop in the number of people looking for work, an indication that many have become discouraged about finding a job in this economy. But others found positives in the upward revisions for September—to 210,000—and October, as well as the 140,000 private sector jobs created. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons also fell by 378,000 during the month.

Over the past 12 months, an average 131,000 jobs have been created each month, far short of what is required to cover population growth; the civilian non-institutional population grew 172,000 in November, for example. But nearly all those jobs have been in the private sector, as government entities have lost nearly 600,000 jobs since 2008. Government bodies shed another 20,000 workers in November.

Among the bright spots in the November data was an increase of 33,000 new jobs in foodservice. Growth in goods-producing segments such as manufacturing, and in the much-battered construction segments, was flat again last month.

Most economists expect job creation to remain moderate at best for several more years until the stubborn effects of this financial/balance-sheet recession play themselves out.

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