U.S. Unemployment Rate was little changed at 3.5% in November

December 09, 2019

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 266,000 in November, as the rate of unemployment recorded a small change at 3.5%, as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. Job gains occurred within the health care and in professional and technical services. Employment increased in manufacturing, reflecting the return of workers from a strike.

Health care continued its upward trend in November (+45,000) as the segment added a total of 414,000 jobs over the past twelve months. Employment in professional and technical services rose by 31,000 over the month. Employment within the other major industries (including construction, wholesale trade, information, and government) reflected little change over the month.

In November, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 5.8 million, while the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was changed slightly to 1.2 million. Notably, the total number of persons classified as long-term unemployed, accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

The labour force participation rate for November was 63.2%, while the employment population ratio was held at 61% for the third consecutive month.

Persons employed part time for economic reasons stood at 4.3 million in November. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”

A total of 1.2 million individuals were marginally attached to the labour force, a 432,000 reduction from last year. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year.

Of the marginally attached, 325,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in November, declining by 128,000 a year ago. These persons are not currently seeking for work as they believe no jobs are available for them. There are still 921,000 persons marginally attached to the labour force in November who had not sought employment for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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