US Jobless Rate Steady at 4.1% in November


The US unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent in November of 2017, the same as in October and in line with market expectations. It is the lowest jobless rate since February of 2001. The number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.6 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.5 percentage point and 799,000, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers increased to 15.9 percent in November. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (7.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in November and accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 275,000.

The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent in November and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, changed little in November and has shown little movement, on net, since early this year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 4.8 million, was essentially unchanged in November but was down by 858,000 over the year. 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 full-time jobs.

In November, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 451,000 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 469,000 discouraged workers in November, down by 122,000 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 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

Meanwhile, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.


US Jobless Rate Steady at 4.1% in November


BLS | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
12/8/2017 1:46:09 PM