Hello? Hello? Is this microphone still on? The focus on economic metrics might matter a little less in terms of news coverage and interest now that the election has passed, but the election’s not over and neither is the economic crisis from COVID-19. The V-shaped recovery in the jobs market might be coming to an end, however.
In October, the US economy added 638,000 jobs, slightly less than September and the lowest level added since the jobs recovery began in May. Unemployment dropped a full point to 6.9%, but some of that came from an exit of 541,000 from the labor force:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000 in October, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In October, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. Employment in government declined. …
In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 1.2 million to 3.6 million, accounting for 32.5 percent of the total unemployed. By contrast, the number of unemployed persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks decreased by 2.3 million to 2.6 million, and the number of persons jobless 5 to 14 weeks decreased by 457,000 to 2.3 million. The number of persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks was about unchanged at 2.5 million. (See table A-12.)
The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to 61.7 percent in October; this is 1.7 percentage points below the February level. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.8 percentage point to 57.4 percent in October but is 3.7 percentage points lower than in February.