New Jobs Report Contains Some Positive Signs

By Toni Vranjes

November 4, 2011

Unemployment fell slightly last month as employers added 80,000 new jobs, the Labor Department reported today.

The jobless rate declined to 9 percent from 9.1 percent in September. However, last month’s job growth fell short of economists’ expectations of 95,000 new jobs.

The new jobs report is a sign that the economy is making some progress, said Alan Krueger, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough,” Krueger wrote in a blog post.

Employment rose in several sectors, including professional and businesses services, which was up by 32,000.  In addition, leisure and hospitality added 22,000 jobs, while retail trade expanded by nearly 18,000. Employment in health care was up by 12,000. Meanwhile, government employment dropped by 24,000.

An encouraging development was a decrease in the number of “long-term unemployed” (those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer). In October, nearly 5.9 million people were in that category, down from 6.2 million in September.

Also, a broader measure known as the “underemployment rate” declined to 16.2 percent from 16.5 percent. This includes not only part-time workers who would rather be in full-time jobs, but also people who have stopped looking for work.

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