Unemployment Rate Drops to 7%, Its Lowest Level in 5 Years


The U.S. unemployment rate fell from 7.3% in October to 7% in November as total nonfarm employment grew by 203,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Last November the unemployment rate stood at 7.8% and the total number of unemployed workers was above 12 million. Currently the number counted as unemployed stands at 10.9 million, and the total number of employed individuals is roughly 1.1 million higher when compared to last November as shown in the chart below:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Change is from October 2013 to November 2013.

Employment increased primarily in the transportation and warehousing, health care, and manufacturing industries. The economy has now generated a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That's up from 159,000 a month from April through July.

The total number of employed people grew by 818,000 from October to November, and those who were considered unemployed fell by 365,000, but the BLS attributed some of this to federal employees who returned to work following the government shutdown and corresponding furloughs.

In addition to overall employment increasing, the number of people who were considered to be part-time employees for economic reasons (or involuntary part-time workers) fell by 331,000 month-to-month to land at 7.7 million. In addition, "discouraged" workers -- those who are not seeking employment because they do not feel there are available jobs -- also fell by 217,000 from a year ago to a little over 760,000.

The total unemployment rate of 7% was the lowest level since November 2008, when unemployment stood at 6.8%:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to the unemployment rate falling, the more encompassing measure of total unemployment plus those considered to be marginally attached to the work force and those employed in part-time jobs because of economic reasons fell from 13.8% in October to 13.2% in November. This number is also well below the 14.4% posted in November of 2012.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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