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November 03, 2006

Unemployment Drops To Five-Year Low

Seems like sort of good news.

Which means it's not news, so don't expect Charlie Gibson to mention it tonight.

The unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 4.4 percent in October as employers added 92,000 new jobs flashing a picture of a strong labor market as the midterm elections draw near.

The latest report, released Friday by the Labor Department, showed that the civilian unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point from 4.6 percent in September. It marked the third month in a row that the politically prominent jobless rate declined.

The tally of new jobs added to the economy in October fell short of economists expectations for an increase of around 125,000 positions, however. Nonetheless, job gains in both August and September turned out to be much stronger than previously estimated and that took much of the sting out of October's less-than-expected payroll performance.

Really? The August and September numbers were revised sharply upwards? Gee, I didn't see that coming.

Neither did the MSM, which cited those numbers as evidence of a dying economy... which of course they'll now do with October's numbers.

...

That disappointment, however, was offset by much better job gains in the previous two months. Employers added 148,000 jobs in September, versus the 51,000 first reported. Payrolls grew by a robust 230,000 in August, stronger than the 188,000 slots previously recorded.

...

And they'll forget to correct their previous erroneous pessimism when those numbers are revised up as well, as they probably will be.


Workers saw solid wages gains last month.

Workers' average hourly earnings climbed to $16.91 in October, a sizable 0.4 percent increase from September. That increase was bigger than the 0.3 percent rise economists were expecting. Over the last 12 months, wages grew by 3.9 percent.

Growth in wages is good for workers, but a rapid and sustained advance makes economists fret about inflation flaring up. That's not good for the economy or workers' pocketbooks, ultimately, because inflation can eat into everybody's buying power.

The hunt for a job got shorter.

The average time that the unemployed spent in their search for work in October was 16.5 weeks, an improvement from the average 17.4 weeks registered in September.

Wages are increasing? By a big .4 percent? I thought wages were frozen at Great Depression levels. I believe I just read Paul Krugman writing that the average hourly wage in the United States was "two bits and a handful of hay for your mule."

The jobless rate for blacks fell to 8.6 percent last month, from 9.2 percent in September. The unemployment rate for Hispanics dropped to 4.7 percent, from 5.4 percent. The jobless rate for teenagers declined to 15.4 percent from 16.4 percent.

Women, minorities hardest hit.


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posted by Ace at 02:31 PM

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