Unemployment Falls to 7%, Lowest Level in 5 Years, as Economy Adds 203,000 Jobs
FlaglerLive | December 6, 2013
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.