November 2011


A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 15.0
million, and the jobless rate was 9.8 percent. [BLS]



African American






Persons with a disability**


Men 20 years and over


Women 20 years and over


Teens (16-19 years)


Black teens


Officially unemployed

13.3 million


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job:  8.5 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which about 2.6 million** searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)  6.6 million

Total: 28.4 million (17.7% 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 2010, the latest year available, that number was 16.8 million, 17.0 percent of full-time, full-year workers (estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 9/2011).

In September, 2011, the latest month available, the number of job openings was 3.4 million, up from 3.1 million in August. Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the level in September was 1.2 million higher than in July 2009 (the most recent trough for the series). The number of job openings has increased 38 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.”
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Estimates, September 8, 2011.+
Thus there are now more than 8 job-wanters for each available job.


Employment-population ratio 1/1948 to 6/2011

The Waste [of output] by Paul Krugman August 11, 2011 blog
cumulative loss because of recession: $2.8 Tr.


Mass layoffs: Employers in the private nonfarm sector initiated 1,226 mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2011 that resulted in the separation of 184,493 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Total extended mass layoff events decreased over the year from 1,370 to 1,226, and associated worker separations fell from 222,357 to 184,493. Events and separations reached their lowest third quarter levels since 2007. Both events and separations have decreased over the year for eight consecutive quarters.

Mass layoffs:  Review of 2010 BLS, 2/11/11
For all of 2010, employers reported 7,158 extended mass layoff actions, affecting 1,213,638 workers. Compared to 2009, the number of events decreased by 39 percent and the number of separations decreased by 42 percent, the first over-the-year decline for both measures since 2005. The annual average national unemployment rate increased from 9.3 percent in 2009 to 9.6 percent in 2010, and private nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 0.8 percent, or 914,000.

Industry Distribution of Extended Layoffs
In the private nonfarm economy, manufacturing reported the largest number of separations, despite reaching a program low in 2010 (with annual data available back to 1996). Construction had the next highest number of separations. Educational services reported program highs in both layoff events and separations in 2010.
+ “The number of job openings in September (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Several industries experienced an increase over the year in the number of job openings; the number of job openings decreased for federal government.The number of job openings rose in 3 out of 4 regions.”


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