All Articles Tagged "unemployment rate"
April jobs numbers beat forecasters estimates by a bit, with the Department of Labor announcing that 165,000 jobs were added for the month, pushing the unemployment rate for the country down to 7.5 percent. Experts had predicted that 140,000 jobs would be added, which is the good news. The bad news, according to The New York Times, is the figures for the month are lower than the number of jobs created during the previous months of 2013 and the final quarter of 2012.
The reason for the slowdown is the sequester that went into effect in March mixed with the increased payroll taxes that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Retail sales and manufacturing numbers had indicated that there would be an economic slowdown. Construction actually cut 6,000 jobs and the government, 11,000.
Still, the unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008. “The unemployment rate fell even though the size of the labor force increased, which is a good sign. People enter the labor force when they think there’s a better chance of finding work,” writes Marketwatch. Average hourly wages went up four cents to $23.87 and the average workweek fell just a bit to 34.4 hours. On the flip side, “professional and business services, which includes high-paying fields such as accounting, engineering and architecture, added 73,000 jobs. Retailers added 29,000 and health care 19,000,” reports The Washington Post.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the black unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 13.2 percent, still well above the national average. The participation rate actually went up to 61.5 percent, up three-tenths of a percent.
The unemployment rate for adults between the ages of 18 and 29 is 11.1 percent. For African Americans in that age range, the figure is a staggering 20.4 percent, according to figures quoted by Generation Opportunity, a youth advocacy group.
US Added Just 88K Jobs In March, But Unemployment Rate Among African Americans Drops To 13.3 Percent
The latest monthly employment numbers are out, and though the country did add jobs, the number of them — 88,000 — is not enough to make an impact on the widespread joblessness that still plagues the U.S. Still, the unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent.
Even better, the unemployment rate dropped .5 percent for African Americans in the past month, going from 13.8 percent to 13.3 percent (seasonally adjusted). It had been as high as 14 percent in December 2012.
The New York Times points out that the economy has been adding jobs for the past 30 months. However, compared to the 268,000 added in February, 88K is pretty paltry. There are 11.7 million people out of work.
“The slight decrease in the unemployment rate occurred not because more unemployed people got jobs, but because the number of people active in the labor force — i.e., working or looking for work — fell,” the paper reports. Since the black unemployment rate fell as much as it did, it looks like this could be having an impact on that figure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, among African Americans, the employment participation rate also went down from 61.7 percent in February to 61.2 percent in March. “The labor force participation rate has not been this low since 1979, when it was also 63.3 percent, at a time when women were less likely to be working.”
The government continues to shed jobs while areas like professional services, business services, and healthcare continue to add staff. Unfortunately, jobs paying low wages, like restaurant work, have added the most staffers. Temp work is also relatively robust, but those jobs aren’t leading to full-time work, as they usually do. Manufacturing and retail have cut jobs, 3,000 and 24,000 respectively.
“This is an extremely troubling labor-market report, given how strongly stocks have rallied and how much expectations have been lifted with optimism around the consumer and housing,” Bank of the West economist Scott Anderson tells The Wall Street Journal. He adds that higher taxes and the sequester are already having an impact.
The Journal says that average wages went up by a penny to $23.82 and the average workweek went up .1 hour to 34.6.
Once again, the sequester doesn’t seem to be having the anticipated impact. At least not yet.
Despite fears about the big budget cuts (which went into effect March 1), the unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February. The country added 236,000 jobs last month.
However, the lion’s share of those jobs were in the private sector. The private sector added 246,000 jobs while the public sector actually lost 10,000.
We still have to wait and see how the sequester — and talks to end it — will play out. But over past months, the economic landscape has been becoming more smooth. Experts who talked with Dow Jones Newswires had anticipated a drop in the unemployment rate, but only to 7.8 percent. Consumer confidence is up, pay is up an average of four cents per hour to $23.82, the stock market continues in its winning ways, and the housing market is seeing improvements, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Nevertheless, the higher payroll taxes we’re paying and the prospect of continued cuts in government jobs will keep the unemployment rate from dropping to the 6.5 percent level that the Federal Reserve would like.
Unfortunately, the drop in unemployment didn’t extend to everyone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, unemployment among African Americans held steady at 13.8 percent, unchanged from January.
Nonpartisan group Generation Opportunity, which advocates for millennials, also found that unemployment among 18- to 29-year-olds is at 12.5 percent. According to its “Millennial Jobs Report,” the figure goes up to 22.8 percent when you isolate African Americans in this age group.
While it’s great that the economy is showing signs of recovery, the recovery has to be shared by everyone. We all still have a long way to go.
Is the texture or style of your hair preventing you from being hired? Sounds like a pretty silly question, however it was precisely the topic at hand during a panel discussion entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place – A Dialogue” at Georgia State University.
Approximately 100 women gathered last week to contemplate the idea that their skills, talent and intelligence could be overshadowed by a hairstyle. And more often than not, the concern is based on women of color sporting their natural hair.
Yes, the hair that grows naturally from the roots of our heads could be contributing to the growing unemployment rates. Baffling.
Read more on BlackVoices.com.
Labor Department Report Shows Decrease In Unemployment Rate to Four-Year Low, Contradicts ADP Report
The latest jobs report from the US Labor Department shows a decrease in the unemployment rate, from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, with 146,000 jobs added in November. Experts had predicted that 85,000 jobs would be added.
However, the report indicates that 350,000 people have stopped looking for work, and the number of people who said they had a job decreased by 122,000.
“Add it all up, and the conclusion is this: The trend that we thought was underway — of a U.S. economy growing steadily but at an unspectacular pace — remains underway, and was not undone either by the hurricane or by anxiety over looming austerity — the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a deal,” The Washington Post says.
This contradicts Wednesday’s ADP National Report, which fell below forecaster predictions. Sandy was directly tied to the less-then-expected showing. ADP draws on information from its customers to calculate its figures.
The Labor Department says the biggest gains were made in retail (53,000 jobs), professional and business services (43,000), and leisure and hospitality (23,000).
Still, for the black population, the unemployment rate is well above average. Labor Department numbers put the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 13.2 percent for African Americans, a decrease from 14.3 percent in November. Not seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate is 12.7 percent, down from 13.8 percent.
James Glassman, a senior economist at JP Morgan Chase, told Bloomberg that the rate of payroll growth “is too slow to make much of a dent into the pool of unemployed, but it’s steady and persistent.” The newswire says Thanksgiving retail hiring at places like Macy’s and Toys ‘R Us were up.
The latest jobs numbers indicate that Hurricane Sandy had an impact on the employment efforts of the nation’s jobless. Claims for the week ending November 17 went up 41,000 to 410,000. During the previous week, jobless claims spiked in New York (43,956) and New Jersey (31,094). Nationwide, the number of people receiving jobless benefits fell by 30,000 to 3.34 million for the week ending November 10.
According to Bloomberg, we could see continued claims related to job losses from Sandy for the next few weeks and retailers saw a slowdown due to the storm.
All that said, it’s even harder out there for African Americans, who still disproportionately populate the jobless rolls. RT points out that the jobless rate for African Americans is 14.3 percent, even as the national rate fell to 7.9 percent, as of October. For young people, it’s even more pronounced, with a 12 percent jobless rate for whites between the ages of 18 and 29 versus 21.4 percent for blacks in the same age group. And for women, who lost more jobs during the recovery than the recession, the loss of public sector jobs has been detrimental.
“During the recession, black women lost 233,000 jobs. During the recovery, they lost 258,000,” RT quotes from numbers provided by the National Women’s Law Center.
Public sector jobs include librarians, teachers, and government workers. “Public sector jobs, of which one million have been cut during President Obama’s first term, employed a large number of black women and carried them into the middle class. The loss in public sector jobs was the worst on record when Obama first took office,” the story reports.
This is a topic that Melissa Harris-Perry has talked about quite a bit on her program in recent months, emphasizing the fact that these jobs are what lifted blacks into the middle class and now contribute to black middle class peril. Adding to that, RT notes, is discrimination. They use as an example a black woman who made her name sound “more white” and, as a result, got more call backs from companies seeking staffers.
We have published a number of stories on a wide range of employment topics, including job-hunting apps, the seasonal job search, and getting ahead in your career. If you have any questions or thoughts on the topic, let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook. We can compile them and gather expert responses for a separate story.
Merry Christmas? Unemployment Benefits Could Cease For 2 Million on December 1, Blacks Would Be Hard Hit
According to new reports, two million people could lose unemployment benefits right before Christmas unless Congress extends the benefits program. And African Americans, who have among the still have the highest unemployment rates, will most likely be the hardest hit. Even though unemployment figures for African Americans have improved, 13.4 percent of black workers, or 2.44 million people, remain out of work, according to the Huffington Post. And in New York, black women are the hardest hit.
According to the nonprofit Community Service Society of New York, older women and black workers remained unemployed longest. “Nearly 63 percent of women 55 to 65 were out of work for more than six months last year… Black New Yorkers remained unemployed for an average 47 weeks, more than any other ethnic group,” reports the Uptowner. A Department of Labor report found blacks are less likely to find jobs and tend to stay unemployed for longer periods of time.
If Congress doesn’t act by December 1, Americans who have been out of work longer than six months will no longer receive benefits. Six months is the limit for most state-funded unemployment insurance. In April, another one million people might have their checks curtailed if the program is not renewed.
“We cannot forget the human cliff looming for more than two million Americans scheduled to lose their economic lifeline during the upcoming holidays,” Rep. Sander M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
Congress could have some hurdles in extending the benefits as conservative lawmakers “have raised concerns that continually extending jobless benefits is both an unmanageable burden on the federal budget and a disincentive for people to find work,” reports The Washington Post.
But a coalition of more than 35 groups led by the National Employment Law Project is launching an aggressive campaign to pressure Congress to extend the program.
USA Today has examined employment data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, finding that workers are getting more benefits these days, but less cold, hard cash in their paychecks.
Figures from the BEA show that worker benefits accounted for 19.7 percent of compensation last year, up from 16.6 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in the 1960s. Between 2007 and 2011, income from benefits went up $1,302 per full-time worker (about 10.8 percent). But income from actual cash only went up $777, or 1.4 percent for that same period.
“In 2011, average compensation was $67,744 per full-time worker — $54,413 in wages and $13,331 in benefits, BEA data show. Benefits have grown at 2.5 times the rate of wages in the past decade,” the paper says.
The three most popular benefits are health insurance, retirement benefits and employer contributions. All of these things are great, but it doesn’t buy groceries, pay for child care, or put gas in the tank, everyday expenses that weigh heavily on the average person. To employers, who are being pressed for taxes on wages, these benefits are an alternative, but still cost money. So the two sides are a bit at odds. But workers will start to see those medical benefits on their tax forms, so they’ll have a clearer understanding of what they’re earning.
The latest weekly unemployment figures show that the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits went up by 46,000 from the week before to about 388,000. That outcome marks a sudden spike from the past couple of weeks; the previous figures reached 4 1/2-year lows. The unemployment rate fell below eight percent (7.8 percent) for the first time since 2009. (President Obama was sure to mention that last night at the Al Smith dinner.)
Experts blame the shift on the ebb and flow of seasonal changes and a new quarter. They prefer to look at four-week numbers rather than weekly figures.
Weekly numbers show that the number of people making first-time unemployment claims dropped by 30,000 to a 4 1/2-year low of 339,000. The four week average was also down by 11,500 to 364,000.
Separately but related, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wall Street, the bastion of big bucks and executive-level positions, shed 1,200 jobs since the beginning of the year with further cuts predicted as the year comes to a close. The big financial institutions are also feeling the economic crunch and are looking to cut costs. Bonuses fell 14 percent last year, but a report finds that the average salary for “securities-industry employees” in New York last year was $362,950.
Last week, it was announced that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent, the lowest point since January 2009. That news was immediately met with ridiculous claims from the right that President Obama had cooked the numbers, a claim that the Romney campaign was quick to stay away from. Rather, says Nobel prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, these numbers all indicate that things are getting better for the long-term.
“The more important point is that unemployment has been on a sustained downward trend. Isn’t that just because people have given up looking for work, and hence no longer count as unemployed? Actually, no,” he writes in a column published today.
“Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011,” he continues. In fact, he says, the jobs situation would be better if Congress (and Republicans in particular) had passed President Obama’s American Jobs Act.
Moreover, a columnist writing for CNN says that Jack Welch, the former GE CEO who started the whole “jobs truther” nonsense with his tweet about the unemployment rate being doctored, “has no clue about jobs numbers.”
Of course, we still need more jobs. But on the bright side, it looks like they’re on the way.
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Coming off of an awful showing at the debate the other night, President Obama (and the rest of us) got some good jobs news this morning: the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest rate since January 2009. The country added 114,000 jobs during last month. The rate in August was 8.1 percent. After a closer look, the numbers for July and August were also improved. Of course, the government would like to see job creation happening at a faster clip, but we’ll take this.
The greatest growth was seen in the private sector, with health care, transportation and warehousing showing the greatest gains, according to The Wall Street Journal. Manufacturing is still a sore spot, losing 16,000 jobs. Governments, which have been losing jobs in previous months, added 10,000 positions. Average earnings are also slightly improved, up seven cents with the average pay reaching $23.58 cents per hour.
“Coming a month before the presidential election, the jobs report offered ammunition for both sides as the candidates vie to convince voters that each is better equipped to steer the economy. Mr. Obama can point to the 24th straight month of job growth after a severe financial crisis, while Republicans continue to criticize the glacial pace of the improvement,” report The New York Times.
Even though things are moving in the right direction, businesses are still cautious. At the end of the year, a number of tax increases and budget cuts could go into effect, shaving $1.2 trillion in spending over the next decade, cutting thousands of federal jobs and likely leading to layoffs in the private sector and, overall, sending us over the “fiscal cliff.” Shivers. But Congress could (and we bet, will likely) act before this would be set in motion on January 1.
For the black and Hispanic communities, the job situation is still a quagmire. Unemployment rates are well into the double digits, 22.4 percent for African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old and 24.3 percent for the whole demographic, according to Politic365. According to Paul Conway, president of nonprofit Generation Opportunity and a former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor in the 2000s, told the site that low education and graduation rates take a big part of the blame, along with the lack of professional networks and “leadership examples” (we need success mentors!). The article also brings up the disproportionate way that the minimum wage ($7.25 at the federal level) impacts African Americans. That’s definitely not enough to live comfortably, let alone raise a family, save for college, or pay for other necessary expenses.