US Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.9% in October


US unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in October 2016 from 5 percent in the previous month and in line with market expectations. The number of unemployed persons was almost unchanged at 7.9 million while the labor force participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 62.8 percent.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics declined to 5.7 percent in October, while the rates for adult men (4.6 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (15.6 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (8.6 percent), and Asians (3.4 percent) showed little change. 

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 218,000 over the month to 3.7 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 2.0 million in October and accounted for 25.2 percent of the unemployed. 

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, changed little. These measures have shown little movement in recent months, although both are up over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was unchanged in October at 5.9 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. 

In October, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 216,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 487,000 discouraged workers in October, down by 178,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in October had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
11/4/2016 12:37:08 PM