Current Employment Situation

For the first time in months, the news on the unemployment front has left many with, at the very least, a temporary sense of hope for the coming year. November saw the unemployment rate reach the lowest since March 2009, falling to 8.6% from an October high of 9%, and employers added 120,000 jobs, while the government reduced jobs by 20,000. Some economists are tempering the news due to the fact that many see the decrease in the jobless rate as a temporary stop-gap measure, and the result of seasonal hiring. Along with this many people, some 315,000 Americans, have stopped looking for work completely, leaving the jobless rate still well over 13 million.

On a more positive note, contributing factors showing some improvements saw men showing gains in employment, with 8.3% unemployment vs. a high of 8.8% last month. And the retail sector added 50,000 jobs to account for seasonal buying trends. Factoring in seasonality, restaurants and bars also saw hiring gains of 33,000 jobs. The healthcare sector added 17,000 jobs, and manufacturing rose by 2,000. More reason for slight optimism is the jobs growth of 143,000 net jobs per 3 consecutive months is enough to keep up with current population growth, say economists. And retailers reported stronger than expected sales for the Thanksgiving weekend, including the Cyber Monday online sales surge.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on at the state level from October, Nevada continues to lead with a record high of 13.4% unemployment. Following closely behind is California, 11.7. both North Dakota (3.5%) and Nebraska (4.2%) recorded the lowest unemployment, with 26 states in all reporting jobless rates lower than the U.S. average. 10 States reported higher rates, and 14 had rates that matched the national average.  

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