October Employment and Unemployment: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report today on payroll employment and unemployment for October (pdf summary available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf). Highlights of the report:
• The unemployment rate edged up to 7.9% in October, from 7.8% in September.
• The labor force rose by 578,000 in October, following a gain of 418,000 in September. The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8%, from 63.6% in September.
• The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 12.3 million in October.
• The number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer) was little changed at 5.0 million in October. The percent of long-term unemployed was 40.6%.
• Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 171,000 in October, following gains of 148,000 in September (revised upwards from 114,000) and 192,000 in August (revised upwards from 142,000).
o Job growth thus far in 2012 has averaged 157,000 per month, compared to average growth of 153,000 in 2011.
o Private sector employment rose by 184,000 while government employment fell by 13,000.
o Some of the gains came from professional and business services (+51,000), health care (+31,000), retail trade (+36,000), and leisure and hospitality (+28,000).
o The average workweek for all private nonfarm employees held steady at 34.4 hours.
Historical Comparison (not contained in the BLS release)
• In previous, post-WWII recessions and recoveries, payroll employment has averaged a 7.1% increase over the same time period that employment currently remains down 3.1% since the start of the recession nearly five years ago.