Friday, December 2, 2011

November Jobs Report

At first glance, the November job report looks positive, but becomes somewhat mixed when one considers the details.  The number that will get the most attention is the decline in the uenmployment rate from 9% to 8.6% (the lowest since March 2009), which caught most people by surprise.  The decline reflects both a significant decline in the labor force, as 350,000 adult women stopped looking for work (while more men entered the job market), combined with a significant increase in employment as reported by the household survey.  Nonfarm payrolls rose by 120,000, led by an increase of 140,000 private sector jobs (with upward revisions for previous months).  On the downside, average hourly and weekly earnings declined, raising questions about the quality of jobs being created.

Unfortunately, the BLS website is having problems, so it's hard to get obtain the details.  Overall, there were modest gains in employment combined with a decline in the labor force, both reflecting a slow-growing economy.  More analysis coming once the BLS site is up and running.