All Articles Tagged "unemployment rate"
November jobs numbers show that the unemployment rate has dropped to seven percent, the lowest in five years. According to the Labor Department, the country added 203,000 nonfarm jobs last month. And the number of jobs added for September and October was revised up by 8,000. The strength of this report has some thinking that the Federal Reserve, which has taken measures to jump start the economy since its decline in 2008 (the start of the Great Recession) such as lowering interest rates, will reduce stimulus measures in the near future. That’s a fear that’s been around for months as the economy has added jobs and the unemployment rate has slowly crept lower.
Overall, experts told Reuters that this is a strong report. Not only was there improvement in the jobs landscape, but the economy expanded by 3.6 percent between July and September, the largest amount since 2012. Although consumer spending is at a low, which hasn’t been a good thing for the holiday shopping season. And all of this despite the government shutdown at the beginning of October.
The picture still isn’t quite so rosy for the black community, which still suffers with a 12.5 percent unemployment rate. The rate for whites is 6.2 percent; for Hispanics, 8.7 percent; and for Asians, 5.3 percent. The rate for African Americans is lower than the 13.1 percent from last month, but still rests above 12 percent, an unemployment rate that has persisted for the entire quarter and for many of the months prior.
Job increases were seen across the board, with retailers (22,000 jobs) and the food services industry (18,000) doing lots of hiring as usual in the low-paying end, but also gains in the healthcare industry (28,000), professional and business services (35,000) and manufacturing (27,000), which pay more. Some of these jobs are those that would require extra training or an associates degree. Here are a couple of previous MN Business stories (here and here).
But looking to the future of the job market, STEM is the place to be. According to a story in this week’s issue of New York magazine, some parents are starting to push their children into extracurriculars that teach computer science and computer coding. “By 2020, the industry expects to have a million more positions than it can fill,” the article says. “Nine out of ten US high schools don’t offer computer programming, and fewer than one college student in 40 graduates with a degree in the field.” There are also lots of new positions that have popped up because of development in areas like social media. We break those down here.
In the meantime, we still have tons of workers who are clamoring for these low-paying jobs that, even with hours of work each week, aren’t paying a living wage. CNN says that two Walmarts that opened in the DC area, 23,000 people applied for 600 jobs, reports CNNMoney, meaning each applicant had a 2.6 percent chance of getting a job. And yesterday, fast-food workers across the country protested for a $15 per hour pay raise. Union organizers like Fast Food Forward paid protesters at a rate of $7.25 per hour so they could afford to walk off the job for a shift. One woman tells CNN that the $50 she was paid made it possible for her to participate in the protest. A Gallup poll released last month shows 76 percent of Americans support a raise in the minimum wage to $9 per hour, with support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Today we honor our veterans and the sacrifices they make on our behalf. And in return, they should receive the benefits they’re entitled to and steady employment so they can support themselves at home. Unfortunately, they’ve had troubles on both fronts.
First, the good. For too long, veterans were facing extensive delays in getting the benefits they’re entitled to, with a backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs that could span for months, if not a full year. More than 256,000 vets were waiting. Finally, after a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting, the wait has dropped by four months, and the number of vets who have been attended to totals 34,000. Still a far cry from a job well done, but certainly an improvement.
A new computer system is helping, and the VA is predicting that no veteran will wait longer than 125 days for processing by 2015. The goal is to be caught up by December 2014, according to The Daily Beast. Workers at the VA attribute mandatory overtime during the past five months (to the tune of millions of dollars) for the progress and worry that they could once again fall behind. But a commitment to staying on top of things (and maybe hiring more workers) could prevent that.
On a negative note, a chart from the Council of Economic Advisers shows the unemployment rate for recent vets is around 10 percent, higher than the nationwide average of 7.3 percent. (The overall unemployment rate for vets is 6.9 percent.) The reasons, according to The Washington Post: vets have higher disability rates, they tend to lack work experience in the civilian world, and hurdles for making the transition back to civilian life are high.
WaPo reports that many states are trying to make that transition easier, a bit of light at the end of that tunnel.
We thank all of the brave vets and active military for their service. Let’s press the government to make their welfare a priority.
The number of people dropping out of the labor force was enough to drive the unemployment rate down from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent for the month of August. The New York Times reports that the percentage of adults who are members of the workforce is at its lowest point since 1978, a time when many fewer women were working. “If the economy were to fill the jobs gap left by the recession within the next four years, around 300,000 jobs a month would need to be created, according to the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution,” the Times writes. In fact, the numbers for June and July weren’t quite as good as we thought either.
So with that, the addition of 169,000 jobs for the month is good, but definitely not great. Retail, food, and healthcare were the main drivers, continuing a trend. But that trend also includes more part-time workers staffed in low-wage jobs, like those available at fast-food restaurants. That trend has become pronounced enough that some have started to question whether the overwhelming number of people working less than full-time positions is “new normal.”
“Of nearly 1 million U.S. jobs created this year, 80% — four of every five — were part time and most had meager or no benefits,” reports USA Today.
“Involuntary part-time workers — those who are seeking full-time work or holding multiple jobs — remain between 19% and 20% of the nation’s workforce, up from 17% in 2007,” the article continues. On the positive side, many workers in their 30s and 40s appreciate the flexibility that part-time work affords. Unfortunately, there are a lot of tangible things, like food, that you can’t afford when you’re not making enough money.
There are 7.9 million Americans looking for full-time work, which drives the number of people who are underemployed up to 13.7 percent. At the same time, the Federal Reserve is considering whether it’s time to slow its stimulus programs. Politico says the pending decision has already sent interest rates for mortgages and other goods up, leaving some to argue that the economy is still too weak to let up on stimulus efforts.
The unemployment rate for African Americans ticked back up to 13 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 12.6 percent last month. The government agency also reports a .1 hour increase in the average workweek to 34.5 hours, and an increase of five cents in hourly wages for all private non-farm employees, to $24.05.
Drama and theater majors are commonly greeted with blank stares and told: “You can’t do anything with that in this economy.” Now, artsy students finally have ammo to shoot down these cynical claims. Recent college graduates with art degrees are finding more jobs than those with technology degrees, reports USA Today.
According to a new Georgetown University study, recent grads with a degree in information systems have an unemployment rate of nearly 15 percent while their theater-loving counterparts have a joblessness rate of only 6.4 percent.
New tech degree-holders do not become “computer scientists or programmers or people who understand the innards of computers,” Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce said. “They’re people who use computer information at their job,” like bank workers who sit at the customer service desk.
Undergrad technology programs do not provide sufficient instruction for recent college graduates and they’re just not ready for the real world; “[They] don’t teach students all the skills needed to succeed in the health care IT world, and many employers are unwilling to take a chance on an inexperienced job candidate,” added USA Today.
Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO of a health care consulting firm, said that most firms don’t want to invest time and money on new graduates. Understandably, most employers prefer candidates with practical experience in technology.
Conversely, jobs in the drama and theater field remain unaffected by the slumping economic climate. Because there are fewer college students who pursue artsy degrees, employment is easier to come by.
Although the joblessness rate is lower, the wages — of course — are very low. Drama majors must settle for a starting salary of $25,000. College graduates with a technology degree hit the jackpot with a starting salary of $40,000.
This study collected 2010 and 2011 data from the U.S. Census Beaurau’s American Community survey on college graduates between 22 and 26 years old with a bachelor’s degree.
The US added 162,000 jobs during the month of July, mostly in retail, food services, financial activities, and wholesale trade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of unemployed Americans dropped to 11.5 million and the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent. The unemployment rate for African Americans also fell to 12.6 percent. However, rates for other groups such as Hispanics (9.4 percent) and teenagers (23.7 percent) haven’t changed. Long-term unemployed Americans — those out of work for 27 weeks or more — make up 37 percent of the unemployed, totaling 4.2 million. That’s 921,000 fewer than last year. And 37,000 dropped out of the workforce all together last month.
Retail added the most jobs — 47,000 — in the last month. Food service and restaurants added 38,000. These are typically low-paying jobs, so there are questions about how much benefit this is for workers and the country as a whole as high rates of poverty and subsistence-level living continue. Food service workers in particular protested this week to raise the pay on these jobs to $15 per hour, what they consider a living wage. Some protesters want restaurants like McDonald’s to raise pay. Some want to unionize. And still others want to press government on the city and/or federal level to raise the minimum wage.
The New York Times reports on the response from the food industry:
Restaurant industry officials say the strikers’ demand for $15 an hour is ludicrous because it amounts to more than twice the federal minimum wage. (The median pay for fast-food workers nationwide is $9.05 an hour.) Industry officials say a $15 wage might drive many restaurants out of business and cause restaurant owners to hire fewer workers and replace some with automation — perhaps by using more computerized gadgets where customers punch in the orders themselves.
Protesters interviewed in that same story talk about being on food stamps and reducing poverty levels through their efforts.
The average hourly wage for workers (excluding private nonfarm workers) was down two cents to $23.98 per hour. Year-over-year, that’s up 44 cents. The number of job gains for May and June were also revised downward.
“We’re continuing to see moderate but unspectacular job growth in the U.S. and that’s consistent with an economy that’s growing at a modest rate,” Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets told Forbes.
“I don’t think it’s time to press the panic button,” he added. “”We still think the economy will pick up in the second half of the year as some of the fiscal headwinds abate.”
While other minority women, such as Latinas and Asians, have seen their unemployment rates drop to 8.6 percent and 4.2 percent respectively, the jobless rate for African-American women has increased, AL.com says. The June job report shows that 12 percent is the current unemployment rate for Black women, according to The National Women’s Law Center. The jobless rate for White women is at six percent.
In 2007, before the recession, the unemployment rate for African-American women stood at 7.1 percent, according to ThinkProgress. In June 2009, 11.2 percent of Black women were jobless. Unfortunately, the June job report shows that Black women are the only subgroup of women who have failed to show a decline in unemployment.
For Black men, although their unemployment rate dipped slightly from 13.5 percent in May to 13 percent in June, that figure is still high. White men have an unemployment rate of only 6.2, adds Green County Democrat.
“More than 2.5 million Blacks are unemployed, according to the Department’s latest jobs report,” says Green County Democrat “The 13.7 Black unemployment rate is higher now than when President Obama took oath in office back in January 2009.”
In the clip “Black Woman Pretends to Be White, Job Offers Skyrocket,” Yolanda Spivey, an African-American woman, applied for over 300 jobs last year in the insurance industry. Spivey had over 10 years of experience in the field and had not received one call.
Even when she went back to college and completed her degree, she still did not receive any responses. It was not until she changed her race from “Black” to “White” on her Monster.com application and changed her name to “Bianca White”did she start getting attention from employers. At the end of her week-long experiment, 24 employers reviewed Bianca’s resume while only 10 looked at Yolanda’s.
Julianne Malveaux, an economist and former president of Bennett College for Women, says that although it may seem like the high unemployment rate is disproportionately targeting blacks, she explains that the populations that are most affected are the urban-living Black men.
“One thing the president can do is accelerate, deepen, and strengthen the enforcement of anti-discrimination policies” Bernard Anderson told Green County Democrat, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, “That’s one thing the president can do and from all the evidence, the Obama administration has been asleep at the switch.”
The June jobs report released this morning shows that the US continues to add jobs, but the strength of the economic recovery is still in question.
The country added 195,000, a bit more than analysts expected says The New York Times, but the unemployment rate is holding steady at 7.6 percent. Through March, April, and May, the country added about 155,000 jobs, a drop from the 233,000 that we saw December through February. A big part of the problem, according to the Times is the continued loss in public sector jobs. The government lost 7,000 jobs last month. Also, the manufacturing sector, which is used as a bellwether for the economy, also lost 6,000 jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for African Americans is 13.7 percent. For most groups, including teenagers (24 percent) and Hispanics (9.1 percent) the rate saw little or no change. The unemployment rate for African Americans actually rose .2 percent in the past month.
A total of 2.6 million people were what the BLS calls “marginally attached to the workforce” during the month of June, meaning they’re not working but would like to and have searched for a job at some point in the past year.
There is concern about the next step for the Federal Reserve, with Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, saying a couple of weeks ago that the stimulus program the agency has in place (in which they’re buying $85 billion in bonds per month) will stop once the unemployment rate drops below seven percent. The Fed predicts that could happen by mid-2014. The Wall Street Journal says its analyst sources are predicting faster economic growth, indicated by consumer spending and a stronger housing market. Still, the sequester could have a negative impact as we go through the second half of this year.
With a report that experts call “decent…, but not in any way robust,” the Labor Department revealed May unemployment numbers this morning — 175,000 jobs added, the same as last year, but a small increase in the unemployment rate from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent. The New York Times says it would take five years for the country to get back to full unemployment at this rate.
Other economic factors — the impact of the sequester and the erosion of the “social safety net,” layoffs in the government, and stagnant average hourly earnings — had led to much worse predictions for this report. And the increase in the unemployment rate, the Times says, is likely caused by more people joining in the search for a job. Optimism about the economy has increased and it’s possible that many are seeing some light at the end of the unemployment tunnel.
Still, a former deputy assistant labor secretary, Patrick O’Keefe tells USA Today, that employers aren’t ready to go on a hiring spree. ”They’re hiring when they have orders and business sufficient to justify it,” he said. The article notes that the underemployment rate has gone to 13.8 percent from 13.9 percent.
African Americans, who have already been coping with an unemployment rate that’s higher than the general population, also saw an increase in the unemployment rate, from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent. The same economic and job market forces are taking a toll on black Americans. Also, as we’ve stressed on this site a number of times, the impact of having a weak network is also a factor. Research from Rutgers Business School professor Nancy DiTomaso, reported on NPR, find that 70 percent of the jobs held by the hundreds of white Americans surveyed were due to a tip off from a friend.
“DiTomaso says that one of the consequences of people finding a job this way is that they do not think of themselves as participating or contributing to the reproduction of racial inequality. Many of those whom she interviewed, despite receiving significant help in their careers, felt they’d gotten where they were from hard work alone,” the article continues.
The unemployment rate for Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 is at 16.1 percent, according to Generation Opportunity. For African Americans in that age group, the figure is a shocking 21 percent, higher than Hispanics in this age group (11.7 percent) and women (10.6 percent).
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.