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U.S. Unemployment Drops to 5.8% as Economy Adds 214,000 Jobs, Maintaining Average

| November 7, 2014

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

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

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in October, a level last seen in July 2008, when the rate was rapidly rising, and the economy added 214,000 jobs, continuing a steady if somewhat slow recovery. There are still 9 million unemployed Americans.

Job creation figures for August and September were revised upward, adding 31,000 jobs to previous tallies, for a total of 673,000 net new jobs in the last three months. The economy has maintained the same rough average of some 225,000 jobs a month for most of the last two years.

The economy has added jobs for four straight years, or 48 consecutive months, 56 consecutive months when the loss in government jobs is excluded. What would normally be cause for some comfort has not translated at the polls, where 78 percent of voters surveyed on Nov. 4 said they were worried about the direction of the economy. A third said the economy was getting worse–the same proportion as 2012.

It’s not really a disconnect. While the economy has been growing and jobs have been created month after month, the expansion has had none of the momentum and quality of previous expansions after recessions, when the economy would grow at 2, 3 or 4 percent a year and job creation also meant improved quality of life. That trend stopped around 2000. The last long expansion, under George W. Bush, lasted 73 months, but annual economic growth, at 1.4 percent, was the lowest of any post-war recovery. And jobs created were of lesser quality than in previous recoveries, with part-time jobs accounting for a growing share.

The unemployment rate has been going down steadily, but the quality of jobs and pay have not been increasing proportionately. (BLS)

The unemployment rate has been going down steadily, but the quality of jobs and pay have not been increasing proportionately. (BLS)

“All that purported statistical strength disappears when people look in their wallet and see the same three singles and a five,” Michael Casey wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “You cannot possibly have a broadly strong economy if that strength isn’t translating into the proverbial wallet. What more important metric is there?”

It only takes one hour of work at a job for a person to be considered employed during the month. Part-time jobs still account for a large share of the workforce, especially among workers seeking to work full time, the so-called involuntary part-time workers: there were still 7 million such workers whose hours were either cut back or who could not find full time work, down just slightly from the 7.7 million last October.

Another dissatisfaction among workers: average hourly earnings have barely moved up, rising just 2 percent over the past year–not enough to overcome the effects of inflation and the rising costs of health insurance.

The unemployment rate for whites was 4.8 percent, 5.1 percent for adult men, 5.4 percent for adult women, 18.6 percent for teens, 10.9 percent for blacks, 6.8 percent for Hispanics and 5 percent for Asians. The civilian labor force participation rate went up a decimal point to 62.8 percent, but remains well below its level of was little changed at 62.8 percent

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5 Responses for “U.S. Unemployment Drops to 5.8% as Economy Adds 214,000 Jobs, Maintaining Average”

  1. Obama 2014 says:

    Great more proof that FOX News and the Koch Brothers are lying to their base. U.S. has created 2.3 million jobs

  2. Rob says:

    They are probably saying it would have been better if it weren’t for Benghazi and the Affordable Care Act.

    Better everywhere except here in sunny Palm Coast, unemployment leader of the state

    But Netts and company are building a new city hall, now that will really create decent paying jobs. I am not so sure that is what these town councilors want to change the demographics of this city. . One is on record stating that he wanted to keep things just like when he moved here.

  3. rickg says:

    Wow Rs get elected everywhere and look!!!! Things improve… From last month and over the past 56 months. I’m sure there will be one of those newly elected dodos that will try to claim those gains.

  4. Gia says:

    Palm Coast area is a retirement area, do not expect jobs unless it’s for turnover fast food places & cutting grass.

    • Groot says:

      I have to agree with Gia, this is primarily a retirement area. It will support a limited number of professionals and service people. It really is not a good choice for the young families and singles showing up for the cheap rentals. They’re setting themselves up for failure.

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