Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release


Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
                                                                
                          Statement of
                                
                           Keith Hall
                          Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistic                                
                                                                
                           before the
                    Joint Economic Committee
                     UNITED STATES CONGRESS

                    Friday, December 4, 2009


Madam Chair and Members of the Committee:

     Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and
unemployment data we released this morning.
     
     The unemployment rate edged down to 10.0 percent in
November, and nonfarm payroll employment was essentially
unchanged (-11,000).  Additionally, after revision, the estimates
of job loss for September and October were smaller than reported
last month.  In November, job losses occurred in construction,
manufacturing, and information, while employment rose in
temporary help services and health care.
     
     Construction employment fell by 27,000 over the month,
compared with an average monthly decline of 63,000 in the prior 6
months.  In recent months, most of the decline has occurred in
the nonresidential components.  In manufacturing, employment fell
by 41,000 in November, about in line with the trend over the
prior 4 months.  There were notable job cuts over the month in
machinery, computer and electronic products, and printing.  The
factory workweek rose by 0.3 hour and has increased by one full
hour since May.  In November, employment in the information
industry declined by 17,000, with telecommunications accounting
for half of the loss.
     
     Employment in temporary help services rose in November.  The
industry started the year with large job losses, averaging 69,000
per month through April.  Recently, the industry has added jobs,
with gains averaging 48,000 per month in October and November.
     
     Over the month, employment continued to increase in health
care, with gains in home health care and hospitals.  Since the
recession began, health care has added 613,000 jobs.
     
     Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory
workers in the private sector were up by 1 cent in November to
$18.74.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have
risen by 2.2 percent.  From October 2008 to October 2009, the
Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers
(CPI-W) declined by 0.4 percent.
     
     Turning now to some measures from our household survey, the
unemployment rate edged down from 10.2 to 10.0 percent in
November.  The rate was 4.9 percent when the recession began in
December 2007.  There were 15.4 million unemployed persons in
November, down slightly from the prior month.
     
     The number of persons who were unemployed because of job
loss declined in November.  The number of long-term unemployed
continued to grow, rising by 293,000 over the month to 5.9
million.
     
     The employment-population ratio held at 58.5 percent.  When
the recession began, it was 62.7 percent.  Among the employed,
the number of persons working part time in November who would
have preferred full-time work was little changed at 9.2 million.
     
     Among those outside the labor force--that is, persons
neither working nor looking for work--the number of discouraged
workers in November was 861,000, up from 608,000 a year earlier.
These individuals are not currently looking for work because they
believe no jobs are available for them.
     
     In summary, nonfarm payroll employment was essentially
unchanged in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to
10.0 percent.
     
     My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your
questions.
     
     
     

Last Modified Date: December 04, 2009
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