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The November Jobs Report: Is it Too Soon to Pop the Cork?

Posted December 6, 2013 & filed under References

The November Jobs Report: Is it Too Soon to Pop the Cork?

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics unleashed the numbers for the November Jobs Report this morning, it appeared as if Christmas had come early to many economists on Wall Street. Some have called the report bulletproof, as the numbers were solid, but does it capture the entire picture of the economy? Are the numbers a precursor to a greater economic recovery, or are they merely a seasonal trend that occurs at the closure of every year?

By the numbers

According to the November Jobs Report released by the BLS, unemployment fell to 7.0% of the population, a hefty decrease from October’s rise to 7.3%. Labor participation also increased from 62.8% in October to 63.0% in November.

The good news continued to pour in as the report revealed that the employment to population rate saw improvements, increasing from 58.3% to 58.6%, a number it has not seen since September. The number of underemployed also dropped from 13.8% to 13.2%, good news for those seeking fulltime employment during the holidays.

All in all, 203,000 non-farm jobs were added last month, well above the estimated 185,000. Modifications were also made to the September and October job numbers, revealing an increase of 12,000 jobs in September (moving the total to 175,000) and a decrease of 4,000 jobs in October (moving the total to 200,000).

What’s in it for manufacturers?

The manufacturing industry showed improvements again in November with a 27,000 jobs added throughout the month. Food manufacturing (+8000) and Automobiles (+7000) showed the most gains throughout the industry.

Are the numbers joyful or a load of humbug?

Are these numbers strong? Yes. Are they a sign of a hastened recovery? Maybe. While the jubilation from the economists has the numbers to back it up, they unfortunately don’t take into account the effect of the holiday season.

Yes, the GDP surged to 3.6% last month, but that can be chalked up to businesses stocking up for the holidays. The same thought process can be applied to the job numbers. Just as business horde stock, they also furiously hire employees during the last two months of the year. Whether or not these seasonal temp jobs will transition into fulltime permanent employment is yet to be seen.

Read the full BLS November Jobs Report

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of BitHead via Flickr