The Best Jobs Report Of the Obama Era

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Dec 05, 2014 8:41 AM
The Best Jobs Report Of the Obama Era
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their report on the employment situation today, estimating that the American economy added 321,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%.

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Before the report, "consensus projections" were that there would be 230,000 jobs added to the economy, so this report is a huge surge over expectations. The broader U-6 measure of unemployment, which takes into account broader measures of underemployment dipped to 11.4%.

Last month, BLS's report was that the economy added 214,000 jobs, but each of these reports includes revisions, and the BLS now estimates that that estimate was too low, and added 29,000 more jobs to that estimate. With revisions to previous months, we've had one of the strongest three-month stretches of jobs gains in a long time. Indeed, it's the single best stretch of jobs creation in the Obama era.

The headline unemployment rate is below 6%, which we might try to say is an indicator of the health of the economy. But what characterized our pre-recession economy was a much, much higher labor force participation rate. Ever since 2008, a far smaller propotion of the American population has even been considered a part of the labor force. BLS estimated that the labor force participation rate is now 62.8% - unchanged from the previous month - which is much, much lower than the rates in the 90s and 2000s that were in the high 60-percentage range.

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