If you hear someone today screaming, “Hooray for the unemployment rate!” please don’t punch them in the face. They mean well. They’re probably just talking about the good news coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s November 2013 jobs report, which was released this morning. Probably the biggest highlight was that the U.S. unemployment rate has ticked down to the lowest in five years. That’s huge, right? Well, there are some caveats, so keep reading.
As you may know, following each month’s jobs report, we read dozens of news reports, scour the Web, and break what we find down to three key talking points you can use. Whether you’re taking a break at the office water cooler or conversing with peers in the industry, you’ll have three conversation starters in your pocket.
HERE’S THE NEWS YOU CAN USE FROM TODAY’S RELEASE:
- How low can it go? The unemployment rate just fell to a 5-year low, dropping to 7 percent from 7.3 percent in October. The last time it was at 7 percent or lower was exactly 5 years ago in Nov 2008. But before you go throwing parties over this news, bear in mind that the month-to-month drop is at least partially reflective of federal workers returning to work following the government shutdown in October.
- Better than expected — but with a twist. The economy added 203,000 jobs in November. This number is way better than economists expected. Predictions varied from 180,000 to about 185,000 depending on which outlet you read. We’ve also now had back-to-back months in which more than 200,000 jobs have been added. Plus, the under-employment rate has ticked down to 13.2 percent from 13.8 percent in October. But once again, we can thank the return of furloughed federal workers at least in part for that drop.
- It’s still cold out there. And no, we’re not just talking about the freezing temps. The 4.1 million long-term unemployed — defined as people who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more — remained relatively unchanged. This continues to be a significant pain point, as long-term unemployment remains near historic highs.
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