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Unemployment Rate At 3.7% Approaching 50-Year Low as Economy Adds 250,000 Jobs

| November 2, 2018

unemployment october 2018.

Job creation by month. (© FlaglerLive)

Twice since the end of World War II the national unemployment rate fell almost to insignificance: for nine straight months between 1968 and 1969, it stood at 3.4 percent. And for 11 months between 1952 and 1953, it fell below 3 percent, bottoming out at 2.5 percent in May and June 1953, still the post-war record low.


The current economy isn’t quite there, but getting close: since last April it matched the 3.9 percent lows of the end of the Clinton years in 2000, and for the past two months, it’s fallen to 3.7 percent. Exactly nine years ago, it had reached 10 percent.

The October rate was helped by another strong month of job creation as the economy added a net 250,000 jobs despite two hurricanes striking the mainland within weeks, events that usually depress job numbers. The economy has now been in positive territory since October 2010, or for 97 straight months, 22 of them on President Trump’s watch. It is the longest such uninterrupted expansion since before the Great Depression. The average monthly gain this year has been just over 210,000 jobs, equal the average monthly gains of the last two Obama years.

There were 6.1 million unemployed people in October, with 1.4 million of them unemployed 27 weeks or more. There were also 4.6 million involuntary part-time workers–people whose full-time hours were reduced or who could not find full-time employment, though they’re seeking it. That figure has been going down in tandem with the unemployment rate. There were over 9 million involuntary part-time workers at the height of the recession.

Average hourly earnings went up only modestly, however, continuing a trend that has seen wages barely keep up with inflation despite recent slight improvements. In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $27.30, and by 83 cents for the year, or 3.1 percent. The annual inflation rate is 2.3 percent. In essence, while it’s been a record expansion measured by length of months, wage growth for the past two decade, and especially since 2010, has remained well below the 4.2 percent annual average that preceded the 2001 recession. The positive numbers mask underlying stresses on a large segment of the American workforce.

On Thursday, the Center for Financial Services Innovations found that “only 28 percent of people in America are considered financially healthy, that 47 percent “spent more than or equal to their income in the last 12 months, and that 36 percent are unable to pay all of their bills on time.” That means much of the financial gains of the past few years rests on growing debt. This at a time when “almost half of these individuals (45%) have less than one week’s worth of expenses saved,” and 30 percent say they have more debt than is manageable: According to the Federal Reserve, credit card debt now exceeds its last peak during the Great Recession, a warning sign for personal finances. Total credit card balances were nearly $1.04 trillion in May, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

“The headlines about high employment and steady stock market returns only tell part of the story and fail to highlight the financial reality for the millions of families in America that cannot afford medical care or are worried about putting food on the table,” said Jennifer Tescher, founder and CEO of CFSI. “The U.S. Financial Health Pulse provides a true composite framework for measuring financial health that enables us to look beyond the headlines and better understand the real financial lives of people in America.”

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24 Responses for “Unemployment Rate At 3.7% Approaching 50-Year Low as Economy Adds 250,000 Jobs”

  1. mausborn says:

    Of course – Trump benefiting from the work Obama started.. Conservatives don’t want to admit to it.. Democrats will take back the house 100%. Yes the stock market is up and the rich are getting richer, because it wasn’t like things were bad when he got elected. However wages are flat and the middle class has seen little change, and guess whos gonna pay back the debt for all this – us! Talk to me at the end of a president’s term, not the beginning, not the middle, but the end.
    Many forgot what OBAMA ACCOMPLISHED:

    1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.
    2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.
    3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.
    4. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.
    5. Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.
    6. Eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws: Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.
    7. Pushed Broadband Coverage: Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.
    8. Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.

  2. Mark says:

    Don’t worry, the liberals will fix this problem!

  3. socko says:

    Obama ran this country into the ground! Let’s remember “if you like you doctor” and “those jobs are never coming back”. Look what happens when you vote on a community activist with no business experience. I am just thankful I got the”hope and change” thank you President Trump!

  4. Agkistrodon says:

    Newsflash, Obama’s “new Normal”of growth was LOWER than the RECORD breaking Unemployment. But Obama did it ALL………… Wages also have increased, I guess barry did that too……..He is also credited with the coming total eclipse in 2087………….

  5. Dave says:

    A few more months left of this Obama era economy. I am not looking foward to see how it will look when trump’s economy begins.

  6. Coyote says:

    In the 6 years between 2010 and 2016 President Obama helped bring the unemployment rate from a high of 10% down to 4.6%. A drop of 5.4 %

    In the almost 2 years since The Donald took office, the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.6% to 3.7%. A drop of 0.9%.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. Makeitso1701 says:

    Thank you President Obama!!! He is sorely missed, but thanks to his hard work his policies are paying off. It’s a shame that the trumpster cult followers think it’s president bozo trumps doing.

  8. Fredrick says:

    I don’t understand where all these jobs are coming from? The Great Obama said they were gone forever and the disaster he created was the new normal? A GDP that we have achieved under the current administration was what we should expect. The liberal sheep drank the cool aid and believed him. Now all they can do is bitch and moan. No message, no direction just negativity…..

  9. Facts says:

    Obama my ass. He was in office for eight years. My portfolio never grew.

  10. FlaglerFlyer says:

    I am a small business owner that competes against Fortune 500 companies. Obama’s policies (and Bush’s) crippled the ability of small businesses to compete on an even playing field. The ACA act eliminated our ability to provide comparable benefits to mid/large size companies.

    The tax cuts and the more important deregulation have had a profound effect on our company and our industry as a whole! It is wonderful what is occurring and both employers and employees ar reaping the benefits. This economic boom has nothing to do with Obama (check the GDP stats prior to the 2016 election). The economic boom is absolutely a result of the policies that Trump has put in place. If you like better pay and better jobs, vote Republican. If worrying about who can use what bathroom is more important to you by all means vote Democrat!

  11. Flatsflyer says:

    Does anyone really believe any numbers being released by Trump? He has lied about everything since he started his run in 2015, over 6,200 proven lies. There is no reason to believe that Trump is not cooking the books to make himself look good. He did this before he was elected and has IMO continued to do so. The only good thing about Trump is that he get’s a day older each day and each day he is closer to death. Just hoping that his entire criminal family ends up in jail.

  12. jake says:

    Only a fool misses Obama and his fiscal policies.

  13. capt says:

    Trump lips are moving, he’s lying.

  14. Bob says:

    Well, the Trump administration is doing what they said. Jobs for women,blacks and Latinos are at historical lows. Stock market at record highs and personal wealth at the highest of all times. There will always be the naysayers who say otherwise because of their low political IQ. Thank You President Trump.

  15. palmcoaster says:

    Obama left with 586 billions on debt = deficit after he reduced it and now Trump in just 2 years has shot it up again 786 billions….We will pay a big price for the just temporary feel good tax cuts to the rich that Potus will have to find and grab from somewhere. So all better watch their SS and Medicare under these Greedy Opulent People control.

  16. palmcoaster says:

    Yeah all looks nice and dandy by now with jobs and this fake “good economy” but who is going to paid the additional 200 billion in budget deficit aka debt increased by Trump? When Obama left he brought down the deficit to 586 billion now is up to 786 billion with only two Trumpsters administration years. Please read the writing in the wall just like when Bush said that our troops will be in and out of Iraq in no time and started a unnecessary baseless facts war still going on that originated the ISIS power and destabilize the Middle East.

  17. Underdog11 says:

    By your own Progressive Logic everything that you praise Obama for should be credited to Bush.

  18. Traveling Rep says:

    Barry has been smoking crack again! He really thinks he had any bearing on this economy? I got news for him: “He didn’t build that”. What a clown!

    This is Trump’s economy, plain and simple. His “magic wand”!

    #Walkaway
    #MAGA
    #jobsnotmobs

  19. Shark says:

    Highest national debt in history – no cheap health insurance – no infrastructure bill – no Korean de-nuclearization – etc – etc Who wants a landscaping job !!!

  20. Makeitso1701 says:

    Only a bigger fool would really believe that trump, the cult leader, really has anything do to with this economy.
    And only a out of touch, alt reality trump follower thinks that your average hard working person is benefiting from the stock market.Obama inherited the mess Bush left the country in and it took years to fix it. So for those who think trump did it all in two years, please, give me a break.
    Keep watching your fake Fox News.

  21. Agkistrodon says:

    I guess if as Barry said, people who own small business didn’t build them, then using HIS logic HE is NOT responsible for ANYTHING.

  22. Dave says:

    Underdog yes we always credited Bush for the bad economy that Obama inherited although back than Republicans tried to blame Obama, you cant have it both ways. When a Democrat wins the next presidential election he will inherit Trumps mess and then get blamed for it.

  23. Daniel Floyd says:

    To all of you uninformed Dem’s; which Obama policy helped this new economic growth? High taxation, high corporate tax rate, enacting a health care fraud that was doomed to fail, doubling the national debt or excessive regulation?

  24. Richard says:

    Been waiting to hear from the democrats in regards to Daniel Floyd’s question….. Not holding my breath!

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