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Unemployment Rate Drops In November

by @ 5:09 pm on December 4, 2009. Filed under Economics, Politics

Finally, some good news:

WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent in November as employers cut the smallest number of jobs since the recession began. The better-than-expected job figures are a rare note of encouraging news for the labor market.

Still, the respite may be temporary. Many economists expect the unemployment rate to climb into next year as the economy struggles to generate enough jobs for the 15.4 million people out of work.

The economy shed 11,000 jobs last month, an improvement from October’s revised total of 111,000, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s much better than the 130,000 Wall Street economists expected.

The unemployment rate fell to 10 percent from 10.2 percent in October, where economists expected it to remain.

If part-time workers who want full time jobs and laid off workers who have given up looking for work are included, the so-called underemployment rate also fell, to 17.2 percent from 17.5 percent in October.

How much of this is seasonal and holiday related is unclear, but I’ll take a little good news today. We could use it.

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9 Responses to “Unemployment Rate Drops In November”

  1. Matt says:

    How do we lose 11,000 jobs but have the unemployment rate go down? I’m assuming more than 11,000 people were kicked off of the unemployment dole or something?

  2. Sarah P says:

    Matt: they’re all in Obama’s concentration camps!

  3. Let's Be Free says:

    Two different data sources (both deseasonalized, so time of year makes no difference). The household survey is the unemployment rate source; it’s a sample. The employment data is a census of large firms with a sample of smaller firms and interpolation for startup and failed firms.

    At 10.2 percent the household unemployment rate got a bit ahead of itself last month. Since it is a sample the unemployment rate is noisier than are the payroll employment data. Due to population growth employment growth should average close to 150,000 a month just to keep the unemployment rate steady.

    In a strong economic recovery, the payroll data would show employment gains consistently in the 200,000 to 300,000 a month range. Payroll empoyment is still down 7,000,000 jobs from two years ago, so this recovery has a very, very long way to go.

  4. Matt,
    It’s because of people who on the household survey tell them they are no longer looking for work.

    If you look at the new claims, and continuing claims numbers for November you see that a drop in the rate could only be attributed to people no longer looking.

    BTW, the number of people dropping off the survey is tracked. When they are added into the equation the real unemployment numbers is about 16%

  5. Tom Burns says:

    Yeah, I’m leaning against regarding this as a true drop in unemployment.

  6. Matt says:

    Sounds like it’s really more of an increase in the destitute rate.

  7. mariner says:

    I think the first question we should ask is, “Is this even true?”

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