7.9 percent unemployment rate the highest for an incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt
The economy added a better-than-forecast 171,000 jobs in October, the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday, while the unemployment rate was “essentially unchanged” at 7.9 percent, the highest for an incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt.
The government also revised job statistics upward for August from 142,000 to 192,000 and September from 114,000 jobs to 148,000. Employment growth has averaged 157,000 jobs per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 last year
Hurricane Sandy “had no discernible effect” on the October jobs data, the BLS noted. The data was collected before the devastating storm.
There were 12.3 million unemployed persons in October, also basically unchanged from the previous month. Among the major worker groups, unemployment for blacks increased to 14.3 percent, while the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.2 percent) whites (7 percent), Hispanics (10 percent) and teenagers (23.7 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent a year earlier.
The civilian labor force to 155,6 million in October, an increase of 578,000 and the ratio of people actively employed or looking for work to the overall eligible population edged up to 63.8 percent.
In October, the number of those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more was little changed at 5 million. These “long-term unemployed” accounted for 40.6 percent of the unemployed.
The number of persons employed part-time because their hours had been scaled back or because they were unable to find a full-time job decreased by 269,000 to 8.3 million, partially offsetting a September increase of 582,000.
The number of individuals who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months was 2.4 million, little different from a year earlier. The people marginally attached to the labor force are not counted as uneomplyed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks prior to the survey.
Among these individuals, there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October, a decline of 154,000 from a year earlier. These so-called “discouraged workers are not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the four weeks prior to the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities, the BLS said.
Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, while retail added 36,000 jobs. Retail has added 82,000 jobs over the past three months. Health care added 31,000 jobs, while leisure and hospitality also continued to trend up with 28,000 jobs over the month. This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010.
While manufacturing employment showed little change in October, employment in construction edged up.
The jobs report follows the release Thursday of the Conference Board’s October gauge of consumer confidence, which increased to 72.2, the highest level since February 2008. Generally, when the economy is growing, conference readings are at least 90, the NewYork-based research group noted in a statement. The last time the confidence gauge exceeded 90 was in December 2007.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.