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Unemployment Falls to 7%, Lowest Level in 5 Years, as Economy Adds 203,000 Jobs

| December 6, 2013

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

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

The national unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in November, the lowest level since December 2008, when it was 6.8 percent. The economy added 203,000 jobs over the month, continuing relatively strong growth since summer despite the 17-day government shut-down in October. The economy has added just shy of 600,000 jobs in the last three months.

Florida’s unemployment rate in October fell to 6.7 percent. Flagler’s fell to 9.3 percent, driven down mostly by a shrinking of the labor force rather than an increase in jobs.

Earlier this week, the Commerce Department announced that third-quarter growth figures were revised sharply upward, to 3.6 percent, rather than the 2.8 percent initially reported. The revision exceeded most economists’ expectations and suggests a longer-term strengthening of the economy. Lower energy prices are also helping.

The drop reflects a return to work of hundreds of thousands of federal employees, but the rate would have dropped regardless even after accounting for that factor.

Other underlying signs point to a solid strengthening of the economy, such as the alternative or U-6 measure of unemployment, which more accurately reflects underemployment and those who have dropped out of the labor force. That rate fell sharply to 13.2 percent, from 13.8 percent, led in large part by a decline of 300,000 in the number of people employed part time involuntarily–either because their hours were cut back or because they could not find full-time work.

Most industries added workers, including transportation (31,000), health care (28,000), manufacturing (27,000), professional and business services (35,000), retail (22,000), tourism (18,000) and construction (17,000). Even as federal employees returned to work, the federal payroll declined by 7,000, adding to a total of 92,000 fewer federal employees in the past 12 months, a far steeper shrinking of the federal workforce than during the Bush administration.

The average workweek for all employees on private payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in November. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour, to 41.0 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees was up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents to $24.15. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 48 cents, or 2 percent.

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5 Responses for “Unemployment Falls to 7%, Lowest Level in 5 Years, as Economy Adds 203,000 Jobs”

  1. Diana L. says:

    How long will it take for the comment section to be filled with negative comments? Hey, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever you want to say.

  2. The Truth says:

    This is good news – but I’m sure some will spin this to something negative. There are some in this country who seem to want things to fail so they can say “I told you so, I told you he was a socialist”. Let’s all stop hoping the country will fail and enjoy good news like this.

  3. Rocky Mac says:

    Diana And The Truth: a thumbs up from me. We need some positive news for a change. I hope the Obama “dislikers” are not too disappointed, but I am sure they will swing this story into a negative. Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and family, and Happy Holidays to everyone else.

  4. Gia says:

    You up there don’t be fool these jobs are only holiday part/time, by January second week they all go back home.

  5. The Truth says:

    I am not blind, I realize that adding just 200,000 jobs in a month isn’t going to fix everything. It is a continuing step in the right direction. Our country was in horrible condition from the housing market collapse and the two wars we have been in the last 10 years. We are a long way from a full recovery, but we need to continue to move forward. Our politicians on both sides of the aisle need to understand compromise. We need to work together and function as ONE government instead of trying to block others from getting things done (see: Affordable Care Act). Corporations run our country and only we can change this.

    Each and every day I pray for this country. America is the best country in the world and that will never change, but we need to focus on what’s important in this country and that is our citizens. Greed has taken over many of our lives and I hope and pray this will change soon.

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