The American economy added 203,000 new jobs in November, but about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth clocked in at 113,000. This is slightly better than the rate we’ve seen all year, but only slightly. We’re plowing ahead, but not really making up lost ground from the Great Recession.
Comparisons with October are tricky, since that was the month of the government shutdown. However, compared to September, the labor force shrank by 265,000 and the labor force participation rate declined from 63.2 percent to 63.0 percent, while the number of unemployed shrank by 348,000. That produced a drop in the headline unemployment rate to 7.0%. However, some of that was due to the shrinking labor force, so it’s only partially good news.
So….it’s sort of a Groundhog Day jobs report. The good news is that job growth is steady despite the sequester and other austerity measures. The bad news is that people are still dropping out of the labor force in significant numbers, and we aren’t really seeing any acceleration in the job market. We’re still treading water.