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What Government Shutdown? U.S. Economy Adds 204,000 Jobs, Beating Expectations

| November 8, 2013

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The unemployment report for October was delayed by a week because of the 18-day government shutdown, but it appears to have been little affected by the shutdown: the economy added 204,000 jobs in October, and figures for August and September were revised significantly upward, adding 60,000 more jobs to previous tallies, for a combined three-month total of 605,000 jobs, the best three-month stretch in almost two years. (In December 2011, January and February 2012, the economy tallied up 766,000 jobs).

The effects of the shut-down were not entirely absent from the jobs report, however: in October, the labor force participation rate shrank by 720,000, or 0.4 percent, a very large figure that resulted from the shutdown and the sudden but temporary elimination of federal workers from the job rolls: the number of people who reported being on temporary layoffs totaled 448,000 in October. The employment-to-population ratio also fell–by 0.3 percentage points, to 58.3 percent. As a result, the unemployment rate, calculated from a different survey than the job-creation numbers, went up by a decimal point, to 7.3 percent.


Some 11.3 million Americans remain officially unemployed, though that figure does not include the people employed part-time because they can’t find full-time work, or those who have dropped out of the workforce altogether from discouragement. When those categories are included, the more accurate unemployment and under-employment rate stands at 13.8 percent, an increase of two decimal points from the September figure.

The unemployment rate among major work groups was as follows: adult men, 7 percent; adult women, 6.4 percent; teenagers, 22.2 percent; whites, 6.3 percent; blacks, 13.1 percent; Hispanics, 9.1 percent; Asians, 5.2 percent. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 4.1 million. Those individuals accounted for 36.1 percent of the unemployed, though their numbers have declined by 954,000 over the year.

In October, job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care. Federal government employment continued to trend down (by 12,000) when shutdown effects are calculated out. There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings. In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls edged up by 2 cents to $24.10. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent, not enough to erase the effects of inflation or overcome increasing costs in such things as health insurance premiums.

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13 Responses for “What Government Shutdown? U.S. Economy Adds 204,000 Jobs, Beating Expectations”

  1. Steve Wolfe says:

    “There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings.”

    This may encourage you to believe that most common efforts of the Federal Government are not essential to the economy at large. Well, at least for those who want to work for a living. As for the impact on the Federal Government itself, nadda. They just resumed what they were doing and paid themselves for their vacation. Back to business as usual. Most real businesses would suffer greatly during a shutdown (because their greed is not being satisfied, right?), but not our favorite monopoly, the Federal Government.

  2. Genie says:

    We need to create about 400,000 per month in order to begin to recover. That’s still not happening.

  3. fruitcake says:

    Just as I thought…the gov shutdown didn’t have any impact on the economy…how could it?
    They are all none essential jobs and they don’t produce anything

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    What cannot be so quickly measured, regarding the economic impact of the ridiculous government “shut down”, is the negative impression it gave to current and potential tourists internationally. Much of our economic well being, especially in Florida, relies on attracting tourists from all over the world. Some how, in the small minded arrogance and ignorance of many, there is the belief that the all mighty “Americans” can do what ever they please, with out any thought of fitting in with, or even acknowledging that the rest of planet exists. “Hey tourists. . . just send your money (cash, not a check), and don’t bother us with having to behave like mature, reasonable, civilized adults”!

    Folks, we are increasingly seen as the wreckless, dangerous place for a holiday. . . where gun fire happens in the streets, survivalists rule, safety has been cut back, TSA lines are dangerous, customs agents surly, red light cameras impose fines, toll roads expensive and difficult to use, and the elected leaders spend so much time in combat with one another that the citizens are on the verge of revolution. Then on top of it all. . . some major tourist attractions may or may not be open due to some political foolishness.

    Does that describe a place you would want to spend thousands of dollars visiting?

    Yes, there is a long termed negative financial impact to our country when our leaders and citizens, bit by bit, create a USA that has many of our own citizens considering relocating to other countries, much less reaching our maximum tourists dollar potential.

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      The government is not the solution, the government is the problem.

    • BJB says:

      It seems to me that you live in a different America than I do. Our country is still grand and glorious…we just have a few problems right now. We are not exempt from controversy within our government. I would venture to guess that thousands or millions of men, women and children would gladly trade places with you right now. Would you trade places with them?

  5. Sherry Epley says:

    PLEASE. . .”The Government” is not made up of Martians!

    We voters created this monster. . . we put the people into Presidential office who packed a Supreme Court. On one of the worst days in the history of the US, that court ruled in “Citizens United” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission#American_politicians

    That ruling made it possible for wealthy corporations to essentially BUY politicans and BUY their votes. . . by massive contributions into PACs. Yes, the sacred freedom of speech. . . but at what price? That is the monumental moment when corruption became legal! The terrible moment when political decision making changed from being VOTER DRIVEN into MONEY DRIVEN. The ruling that has now allowed even wealthy foreign power brokers to influence the choice of those who lead our country!

    Until we rise up and require campaign finance reform, our citizens are almost powerless against those with the influence of money, money, money! Please educate yourselves and vote for reform before our power to change anything is completely gone forever. . . Hopefully it is not too late!

    • Genie says:

      @ Sherry – I am fascinated by the fact that you want to blame everything and everyone but our elected officials for our current situation in this country.

      I think we can all agree that strong campaign finance reform is needed. But good luck getting that through Congress. It is the primary reason many are still there after years and years….and years.

      How would you feel about a Constitutional amendment on the subject which would also address term limits and end the practice of lifetime health and retirement benefits to elected officials who are now making many times more than the average citizen in this country?

      I am not sure how we go about this, but have seen the sentiment growing and it is something I would gladly support.

  6. JIM.R says:

    The way to solve the unemployment problem is to cut the work week to 24 hours, and raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour. I can hear the rightwing screaming what a crazy idea this is because they have been brainwashed into believing that it’s okay for the big corporations, with the governments help, to shut down all the factories and ship them offshore. Then they have the nerve to tell us that it’s globalization and it’s good for us, and now we are a service economy, what a bunch of bull shit. what globalization means is predatory capitalism has succeeded in making slave wages the standard all around the world, while the greedy few at the top gorge themselves with the wealth of the country, which belongs to all of us.
    Through control of the media, and the political system they have convinced many Americans that still have jobs that those people living in poverty and the unemployed are just lazy, that is class warfare propaganda that has succeeded to a degree, but those that think that way don’t realize they and their jobs and pensions are in the crosshairs for the next big wealth transfer to the top,
    When the people wake up and know what side they are on, maybe there is a chance to turn things around, if not prepare for life as a serf, and I don’t mean on top of a wave.

  7. biker says:

    Lets clarify this increase in jobs a little here bit shall we. Creative accounting 101 apparently allows you to create job growth based upon individuals that no longer can collect unemployment. Soooo…. If the unemployed, are no longer collecting unemployment benefits they must be employed… right??? Wrong .
    I am just curious, but why is that the rate of new Social Security Disability applications increases at or close to the rate of our “newly created Jobs”. Curious isn’t it? No correlation there!! Lol Wake up America, you cant possibly be that naïve.

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    For those confused about the difference between “Job Growth” statistics (such as show in the chart in this article), and “Unemployment Statistics”. . . this from The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

    *** JOB GROWTH- Each month the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program surveys about 145,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 557,000 individual worksites, in order to provide detailed industry data on employment, hours, and earnings of workers on nonfarm payrolls.

    *** UNEMPLOYMENT-The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a comprehensive body of data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor force characteristics.

    Please note these two surveys collect data from completely different sources. The statistics showing ” Job Growth” are NOT derived from data regarding the number of those persons collecting or not collecting unemployment benefits. It is generally recognized that although the data collected and statistics calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have some flaws, their consistent analysis provides accurate trend data.

  9. A.S.F. says:

    Sherry Epley says–Don’t let the facts confuse you. The “Trickle Down” effect is going to kick in any second now and then there will be a magical explosion of new jobs, thanks to Big Business and those tax breaks we’ve been giving them for years and years. Pay no attention to all those jobs they’ve been shipping overseas so they can clean up on the backs of slave laborers whose welfare they never have to even pretend to worry about. That’s no big deal, apparently.

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    Right On ASF!

    When living in the San Francisco Bay area from 1987- 2005 I placed Americans in high tech jobs that paid an average minimum of $85,000 a year. Those jobs started being “outsourced” and going off shore, primarily to India, in 1995. In addition, the development of powerful, fast internet connections meant that those high tech jobs could be done by people sitting in Asia and making about $5.00 an hour. Even our “call centers” for customer services where moved to India in mass. In less than 10 years, the majority (thousand and thousands) of those lower and upper middle class jobs were completely GONE!

    The ripple effect started with the closing of high end restaurants and the down sizing of luxury car dealerships, BUT, then eroded into highly educated and skilled people going on “unemployment” or taking jobs that left them vastly “under employed”. Homes were foreclosed, children taken out of college, supporting resident services closed, and people were forced to move to find any kind of employment.

    At the same time, nationwide, our labor force was being attacked by “union busting”, and so the protection of union contracts left them vulnerable to being replaced by cheaper labor from 3rd world countries. While manufacturing “off shore” became more profitable as the prices of distribution (shipping, rail and trucking) came down, and the development of “inventory contol” software meant that it was no longer necessary to produce goods in massive volume. . . to just sit in warehouses until they were sold. Another huge ripple effect took place and the resulting example is the bankruptcy of Detroit.

    In Florida, the jobs created by our tourist industry at least cannot be done by someone sitting thousands of miles away, BUT. . . those kinds of low skilled “service industry” jobs are some of the lowest paid professions anywhere. The Tourist industry will never create wealth for the employees (chefs, maids, shop keepers, cashiers), but only for the owners of those businesses. The Tourist industry should not be the foundation of the future economic well being of Florida, or the USA.

    The human toll is nothing short of heart breaking! Not only have many, many American jobs been permanently moved into the global jobs market place, but our “for profit at any human cost” Capitalist system has caused the “indentured servitude” of hundreds of thousand of fellow humans, in 3rd world countries all over the planet. Our Capitalistic Greed has impacted the entire world order, as the power brokers in many other countries are now doing the same. The wealthy in our country are setting the terrible example of the worship of MONEY OVER HUMANS!

    I pray that future generations can some how stem this enormous, ugly tide. . . and bring us back to evolving our civilization in a positive, healthy way.

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