November Unemployment

There is probably not a bigger economic concern in the country than unemployment.  Most Americans know somebody that has been impacted by the lack of jobs.  Recently the unemployment reports have started to show signs of life.  While it is unreasonable to expect the improvement to move in a straight line, disappointing reports are still tough to accept.  The November jobless report produced by the Department of Labor was not awful, but it left something to be desired.
The unemployment rate, derived from the household survey, increased to 9.8% after being 9.6% in each of the last three months.  There were 276,000 added to the unemployed status.  The total number of unemployed now stands at roughly 15.12 million people.  The economic downturn has been particularly hard on men.  The unemployment rate for adult men stands at 10% while it is 8.4% for women.  Digressing away from the economics of this stat, it will be interesting to see the future sociological impacts in the job market if male dominated industries like construction do not return to the same levels seen before the downturn.
The establishment survey of the employment situation did not meet expectations.  The non-farm payrolls increased by only 39,000.  Private payrolls grew by 50,000 while the government jobs shrank by 11,000.  Interestingly, the government entities with the lowest ability to manipulate the budget, the local governments, shed 14,000 jobs as states and the federal government managed to add jobs.
The labor distortions created in the economic run up of the early 2000’s will take time to work through.  There are many Americans with skill sets that are not needed now that the housing and finance booms are over. It is going to take time for the labor market to adjust and be retrained.  Hopefully we will not have forgotten how to consume once the retooling is completed.