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Topline Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.8%

(photo: ep_jhu)

Pretty bad job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, well below expectations. The US gained a paltry 39,000 jobs in November, and the topline unemployment rate rose to 9.8%. The real number is much higher than that, but the headlines will probably blare with that uptick.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of retail employment falling in November, right before the holidays, but that’s what happened. Retail fell 28,000 in the month, offsetting gains in temporary help services (which may be where the seasonal holiday workers are at) and health care jobs.

Basically nothing changed in this report. There are still over 15 million unemployed; long-term unemployed (basically everyone who is seeing their benefits cut off right now) stands at 6.3 million, 42% of the total unemployed. Some of these people have been out of work over 99 weeks and wouldn’t get benefits even if Congress passes an extension. The labor force participation rate, the employment-population ratio, the average workweek and average hourly pay are all basically the same as last month.

September and October revised up slightly, to -24,000 for September and +172,000 in October. But experts thought the economy was out of the woods and on a road to recovery, and this jobs report slaps them back to reality. There is almost no growth, jobs are still impossible to find, and the economy is still hurtling to nowhere.

…Clearly, the best plan right now would be to cut taxes and slash the deficit simultaneously. Not only is that not contradictory, but it’s totally the answer to our deepening jobs crisis!

CommunityThe Bullpen

Topline Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.8%

Pretty bad job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, well below expectations. The US gained a paltry 39,000 jobs in November, and the topline unemployment rate rose to 9.8%. The real number is much higher than that, but the headlines will probably blare with that uptick.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of retail employment falling in November, right before the holidays, but that’s what happened. Retail fell 28,000 in the month, offsetting gains in temporary help services (which may be where the seasonal holiday workers are at) and health care jobs.

Basically nothing changed in this report. There are still over 15 million unemployed; long-term unemployed (basically everyone who is seeing their benefits cut off right now) stands at 6.3 million, 42% of the total unemployed. Some of these people have been out of work over 99 weeks and wouldn’t get benefits even if Congress passes an extension. The labor force participation rate, the employment-population ratio, the average workweek and average hourly pay are all basically the same as last month.

September and October revised up slightly, to -24,000 for September and +172,000 in October. But experts thought the economy was out of the woods and on a road to recovery, and this jobs report slaps them back to reality. There is almost no growth, jobs are still impossible to find, and the economy is still hurtling to nowhere.

…Clearly the best plan right now would be to cut taxes and slash the deficit simultaneously. Not only is that not contradictory, but it’s totally the answer to our deepening jobs crisis!

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David Dayen

David Dayen