A deeper look into the BLS jobs report

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The November 2013 release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation Summary” revealed that 203,000 jobs were generated last month, making this the second consecutive month in which more than 200,000 jobs were created. Total employment increased, and unemployment fell to 7.0%, the lowest since November 2008. These factors prompted a reduction in the country’s jobless rate.

There’s little argument that the U.S. economy is recovering at a steady pace, and a clear indicator to this is that since August, 204,000 new jobs have been created each month. Since January, nearly 2.1 million jobs have been added, leading many economists to forecast similar growth trends in the first quarter of 2014.

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Private sector hiring remains strong

Since the recession the country’s private sector has reported employment gains for 45 consecutive months. Here is a breakdown of some of the major private sector industries that saw continued growth last month:

• Government: This is the fourth time in five months that government saw an increase. Total sector employment rose by 7,000 jobs in November, while state government increased by 8,000, and local government added 6,000 jobs.

 • Healthcare: A rebound in this sector is starting to show. Since slowing down in September, employment has now risen by 28,400 in November.

 • Leisure and Hospitality:  Hiring in this sector was not as strong as the October report, which showed an increase of 53,000 jobs. Nevertheless, employment continued to increase steadily by 17,000.

 • Manufacturing: In October, this sector reported 19,000 new jobs, which was the largest monthly total of job creation of the year. Many did not believe that this would be topped. But surprisingly, November showed an even more impressive increase, adding 27,000 new positions for the month.

 • Professional and Business Services: Along with healthcare and retail trade, this sector is the most consistent job creator. In November it continued to add jobs to the economy. Roughly half of the 35,000 new jobs created in this sector were administrative and support services.

 • Temporary help services: This sector saw continued growth with the addition of 16,400 jobs in November.

 • Retail Trade:  General merchandise stores added most of the positions in this sector. 22,300 new jobs were created in November, which was approximately half of the October number.

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Regional & State Snapshot

Source: BLS Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary

Last month, the BLS found that regional and state unemployment rates were for the most part lower. Forty five states, plus the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from October, and forty two states saw a decline from November 2012. At the national level, unemployment dropped -0.3% from October and -0.8% from November 2012.

All four regions saw significant unemployment reduction from October. The Northeast dropped -0.3% and the Midwest, South and West all fell -0.2%. The West continued to have the highest unemployment rate at 7.6% while the South had the lowest, coming in at 6.7%.

From a year-to-year standpoint, three regions saw remarkable drops in unemployment.

  • West: -1.1%
  • Northeast: -0.8%
  • South: -0.6%

In state totals, Nevada and Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rates with 9.0% and North Dakota had the lowest with 2.6%. Eighteen states had unemployment lower than the national figure of 7.0%.

Twenty five states and the District of Columbia had noteworthy rate decreases from October. The largest was Idaho, New Jersey and North Carolina who each saw a decrease in unemployment by -.06%.

From a year-to-year standpoint, seventeen states saw remarkable drops in unemployment. Here are the top three:

  • North Carolina:  -2.0%
  • New Jersey: -1.8%
  • Florida: -1.6%

The BLS will release their Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment report for November on Tuesday, January 7th.

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