Unemployment Data – November 2008

A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 7.2
million, and the jobless rate was 4.7 percent. [BLS]

African American
Asian**                                     4.8%
Persons with a disability**
Men 20 years and over
Women 20 years and over
Teen-agers (16-19 years)
Black teens
Officially unemployed
10.3 million


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job:   7.3 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which about 1.9 million** searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)   5.4 million
Total: 23.0 million (14.4% of the labor force)

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

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

In addition, millions more were working full-time, year-round, yet earned
less than the official poverty level for a family of four. In 2007, the latest year available, that number was 17.6 million, 16.2 percent of full-time workers
(estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 2008).

In October, 2008, the latest month available, the number of job openings was only 3.1 million, according to the BLS, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Estimates, Dec. 9, 2008.+ Thus there are more than 7 job-wanters for each available job.

Mass layoffs: “In November, employers took 2,328 mass layoff actions, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer; the number of workers involved totaled 224,079 on a seasonally adjusted basis. ….Over the year, the number of mass layoff events increased by 999, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 84,408……Eight major industry sectors reported program highs in terms of average weekly initial claimants for the month of November— accommodation and food services; construction; finance and insurance; real estate and rental and leasing; retail trade; transportation and warehousing; utilities; and wholesale trade. The manufacturing sector accounted for 39 percent of all mass layoff events and 45 percent of initial claims filed in November 2008; a year earlier, manufacturing made up 29 percent of events and
38 percent of initial claims.” (BLS, Dec. 19, 2008)

+”The job openings rate was little changed in October 2008 but has been trending downward for over a year. At 2.2 percent in October, the job openings rate was at the lowest level since February 2004. Although the job openings rate was little changed at the total nonfarm and total private levels, the rate decreased significantly in October in the construction industry and in the West region. The rate increased significantly in October only in retail trade.Over the last 12 months, the job openings rate (not seasonally adjusted) rose significantly only in the federal government (to 2.5 percent). ….The job openings rate also fell significantly over the year in three of the four regions—Northeast, South, and West.”