Latest BLS Employment Report Shows Brighter Picture of Labor Market

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Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 02 November 2012 11:15

The establishment survey added 171,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest employment report. This increase coupled with sharp upward revisions to the prior two months of data brought the average over the last three months to 170,000. The employment-to-population rate (EPOP) also rose to 58.8 percent, its highest level since August of 2009. However, despite the increase and upward revisions, the unemployment rate slipped up to 7.9 percent, reflecting the fact that the September drop was an aberration.

Most of the other data in the household survey was also positive, showing a brighter picture of the labor market. The number of people involuntarily working part-time fell by 269,000 reversing most of the September rise. The number of discouraged workers was 154,000 below its year-ago level, continuing its recent pattern. The percentage of unemployment due to people who voluntarily quit their jobs, a key measure of workers’ confidence in their labor market prospects, rose to 8.3 percent. With the exception of the 8.7 rate reported in March, this is the highest share since December of 2008. Nevertheless, with the economy still down by more than 9 million jobs from its trend level of unemployment, the current rate of job growth implies that we may not reach full employment until the end of the decade.

For a more in-depth analysis, check out the latest Jobs Byte.