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A Behind the Scenes Look at the November Jobs Report

  • Employment data

Tags Big GovernmentBooms and BustsThe Fed


The Bureau of Labor Statistics released November employment data today. The media is calling it a “solid U.S. employment report”, with most of the job categories increasing. The main statistic, total nonfarm employment, increased 211,000. This is 111,000 more than what Janet Yellen reportedly wanted to see to justify a momentous 0.25 Fed funds rate hike.

The “solid report” has some not-so-solid features, however.

Government employment has increased over 1.1 million since last November, and 470,000 new jobs were added to the health care sector over the same time frame, with fresh Obamacare provisions. These figures more than offset the declines in manufacturing, mining, logging, and information categories. 

Labor force participation figures suggest many are dissatisfied with their current level of employment or discouraged from searching for jobs. The report indicates that “The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 319,000 to 6.1 million in November”.

Moreover, the labor force participation rate is still near a decades-long low, at 62.5%. The 5% unemployment rate doesn't seem as nice with this taken into consideration.

This includes 1.7 million “marginally attached to the labor force” (want to work, but gave up looking for a job at least four weeks ago) and 594,000 discouraged workers (want to work, but don’t think there’s a job out there for them).

So, for every one new person with a job in November, there are still eight people that gave up looking for one.


Contact Jonathan Newman

Dr. Jonathan Newman is an Associate Professor of Economics and Finance at Bryan College and a Fellow at the Mises Institute. He earned his PhD at Auburn University while a Research Fellow at the Mises Institute. He was the recipient of the 2021 Gary G. Schlarbaum Award to a Promising Young Scholar for Excellence in Research and Teaching. His research focuses on Austrian economics, inflation and business cycles, and the history of economic thought. He has taught courses on Macroeconomics and Quantitative Economics: Uses and Limitations in the Mises Graduate School.

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