November 2010


A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3
million, and the jobless rate was 10.0 percent. [BLS]

African American
Asian**                                     7.6%
Persons with a disability **
Men 20 years and over
Women 20 years and over
Teens (16-19 years)
Black teens
Officially unemployed
15.1 million


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job:   9.0 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which about 2.5 million** searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)   6.2 million
Total: 30.3 million (18.9% of the labor force)


**Not seasonally adjusted. 
*See Uncommon Sense #4 for an explanation of the unemployment measures.

In addition, millions more were working full-time, year-round, yet earned
less than the official poverty level for a family of four. In 2009, the latest
year available, that number was 16.3 million, 16.4 percent of full-time, full-year workers (estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 2010).

In October, 2010, the latest month available, the number of job openings was 3.4 million, which was up from 3.0 million in September.
Since the most recent series trough in July 2009, the number of job openings has risen by 1.0 million or 44 percent. This trough immediately followed the end of the recession in June 2009 (as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Even with the gains since July 2009, the number of job openings in October remained 1.0 million below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007. Job Openings and Labor Turnover Estimates, December 7, 2010.
+ Thus there are now nearly 9 job-wanters for each available job.[Numbers are not comparable with earliest data as methods have been revised.]

Mass layoffs: “Employers took 1,486 mass layoff actions in September that resulted in the separation of 133,379 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in September decreased by 60 from the prior month, the third consecutive over-the-month decrease. The number of associated initial claims decreased by 16,813 to its lowest level since April 2008. In September, 345 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 34,168 initial claims. Both figures declined over the month.” BLS, 10/22/10
“REVIEW OF 2009 For all of 2009, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, the total numbers of mass layoff events, at 28,030, and initial claims, at 2,796,456, reached their highest annual levels on record. Among the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy, manufacturing had the most initial claims in 2009 (1,137,106), followed by administrative and waste services (294,709) and construction (205,765). Manufacturing also had the largest over-the-year increase in total annual initial claims (+266,796), with retail trade (+57,283) and administrative and waste services (+48,039) experiencing the next largest increases. Among the major industry sectors, 12 registered series highs for both mass layoff events and initial claims in 2009: mining; construction; wholesale trade; retail trade; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; real estate and rental and leasing; management of companies and enterprises; administrative and waste services; health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and accommodation and food services.
Among the 4 census regions, the Midwest reported the highest number of mass layoff initial claims filed during 2009 (892,202), followed by the West and the South. All 4 regions experienced over-the-year annual increases, with the largest increases taking place in the Midwest (+215,611). The Midwest, Northeast, and South also reached program highs for total initial claims in 2009. ….” (BLS, January 27, 2010)

+ “Although the month-to-month change is small, the number of job openings in September was 25 percent higher than the number at the most recent series trough in July 2009. This trough immediately followed the end of the recession in June 2009 (as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Even with the gains since July 2009, the number of job openings in September remained below the 4.4 million jobs open when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of job openings in September (not seasonally adjusted) increased from 12 months earlier for total nonfarm and total private. The level was little changed over the year for government overall but increased for federal government. Over the year, the job openings level decreased in two industries and increased in four industries. The job openings level was essentially unchanged over the year in 3 of the 4 regions but increased in the West. 

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