Recently the Bureau of Labor Job Statistics released the newest numbers on the US employment picture which provides helpful information showcasing a continued strong labor marketing in the US.
If, and when, the US may fall into a “recession” is widely and actively debated by politicians, economists and the media. Some argue we will not have one at all. And others speculate it will occur in 2023 or believe we are already in one.
The general definition of a recession as defined by Oxford and google is: a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters. If you adopt this rule, then the U.S. entered a recession in the summer of 2022.
Many economic experts argue more must be considered than GDP to understand how healthy the current US economy is or what really matters. Viewing this question through current unemployment and job growth rates can help us illuminate how the US economy is performing. For a full picture other important data points such as well-being, sustainability, inflation/the consumer price index, the stock market, consumer confidence and other economic and social factors must also be weighed.
Once clear fact is 100% true: no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy. And most agree the US unemployment numbers are very helpful data points that can help us understand how the US economy is doing, at least on the subject of wage earning.
Below are the main points recently released about US jobs and unemployment by the BLS:
The Unemployment Rate Remained Low and Similar To Pre-pandemic Numbers
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care, professional and technical services, and manufacturing.
The Unemployment Rate Increased Slightly in October (But Is Still Low)
The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons rose by 306,000 to 6.1 million. The unemployment rate has been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March.
Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers changed little at 1.2 million in October, and the number of persons on temporary layoff also changed little at 847,000.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in October. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.5 percent of all unemployed persons.
Labor Force Participation Went Unchanged For The Most Part
The labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, were about unchanged in October and have shown little net change since early this year. These measures are 1.2 percentage points below their values in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.7 million in October and remains above its February 2020 level of 5.0 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.
Employment Gains Were Made In Many Areas
In October, employment in health care rose by 53,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+31,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+11,000), and hospitals (+11,000). So far in 2022, health care employment has increased by an average of 47,000 per month, compared with 9,000 per month in 2021.
Professional and technical services added 43,000 jobs in October. Employment continued to trend up in management and technical consulting services (+7,000), architectural and engineering services (+7,000), and scientific research and development services (+5,000). Monthly job growth in professional and technical services has averaged 41,000 thus far in 2022, compared with 53,000 per month in 2021.
Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in October, mostly in durable goods industries (+23,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by an average of 37,000 per month thus far this year, compared with 30,000 per month in 2021.
Employment in social assistance increased by 19,000 in October and is slightly below (-9,000) its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Within social assistance, employment in individual and family services continued to trend up in October (+10,000). Wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs in October.
Employment in wholesale trade has increased by an average of 17,000 per month thus far in 2022, compared with 13,000 per month in 2021. Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in October (+35,000), with accommodation adding 20,000 jobs. Employment in food services and drinking places changed little over the month (+6,000). Leisure and hospitality has added an average of 78,000 jobs per month thus far this year, less than half of the average gain of 196,000 jobs per month in 2021. Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.1 million, or 6.5 percent, from its February 2020 level.
Employment In Many Sectors Remained Unchanged
Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in October (+8,000). Within the industry, job growth occurred in truck transportation (+13,000), couriers and messengers (+7,000), and air transportation (+4,000). These gains were partially offset by a job loss in warehousing and storage (-20,000). Monthly job growth in transportation and warehousing has averaged 25,000 thus far this year, compared with 36,000 per month in 2021.
In October, financial activities employment was little changed (+3,000). Within the industry, job gains in insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000) were partially offset by a job loss in rental and leasing services (-8,000).
Employment in financial activities has changed little over the past 6 months. Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including mining, construction, retail trade, information, other services, and government.
Wage Growth and Working Hours Were Stable
In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $32.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.7 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 9 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $27.86.
In October, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.5 hours for the fifth month in a row. In manufacturing, the average workweek for all employees was little changed at 40.4 hours, and overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 34.0 hours.