Today the government reported 120,000 new jobs for November, which might sound awesome but is actually considered weak, even as unemployment rates dipped from 9% to 8.6%. Better than blatantly bad news, right?
Roughly 315,000 less people sought jobs compared to October, with the employment level actually rising by 278,000, reports CNBC. That 37,000 person difference is reflected in a participation rate drop of 64%, down from 64.2%. There are now 13.3 million without a job.
These numbers don’t portray an encouraging job atmosphere, say the experts, explaining that those discouraged workers who cease looking for jobs are an important part of the equation.
“When the unemployment rate declines, we want to see both employment and participation increase as discouraged workers return to the labor force. Today, we got the former, but not the latter, making the 0.4 percent drop look a bit suspect,” Neil Dutta, US economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told clients. “We would not be surprised to see the unemployment rate give back some of its decline in the coming month(s).”
Meanwhile, the long-term results aren’t too awesome either, as the report says the average duration to be out of work is at a high of 40.9 weeks. And wages are so flat, around seven million workers have more than one job to make up for it, the highest total this year.
If we keep going this way, experts predict it’ll take us more than 20 years to get back down to the pre-recession unemployment rate.