Nonsequitur: Jobless Rate Drops Again …Really?
December 6, 2013
At first, I was really excited about the jobs report for November. Unemployment dropped to 7% in November with more than 200,000 jobs added. That’s the best report since 2008. But … once I read the details, I wasn’t so excited. According to the BLS: “The number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 300,000 in November, partially reflecting the return to work of federal employees on furlough in October.” I’m happy for these nonessential government workers, but remember that Congress decided to give them back pay. In other words, these workers WERE NOT really unemployed. They weren’t working, but they will still get paid for the hours they didn’t work.
Now the BLS report also shows that the civilian workforce did grow in November, after a huge loss in October. That is good news, but we almost always see a bump in employment in October or November due to “Seasonal Hiring” related to the holidays. These positions are almost always temporary, usually eliminated in January, and usually are low paying.
I’d much rather see a decreasing jobless rate than an increasing one, and I do believe the job market is slowly improving, but let’s not pretend that our chronic, long term problems in the job market are going away any time soon.