by Thomas Cooley and Peter Rupert
The Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey for November shows an employment increase of 211,000 jobs, with an upward revision of 27,000 jobs for October and down 5,000 jobs for September.
Average weekly hours fell slightly, from 34.6 to 34.5 and average hourly earning were essentially flat. Since 2009 the BLS also produces data for all private workers, evidently higher than for just production and non-supervisory workers; however, the same basic pattern emerges. The recent climb in real hourly earning stems almost entirely from the decline in inflation as nominal earnings growth has hovered around 2% for the last five years or so.
The household survey reveals very little significant change over the past few months. The unemployment rate ticked up ever so slightly…from 5.036 to 5.046, but who’s splitting hairs. The participation rate also ticked up slightly and the employment to population ratio was essentially unchanged. The number of people working part time for economic reasons popped up by 319,000 but it has been declining steadily for months. The composition of the unemployed changed slightly with more more new-entrants to the labor force and more re-entrants. The overall picture is of a recovered labor market with some continuing longer term structural issues.