390,000 Initial Unemployment Claims for Week of November 5th

Initial weekly unemployment claims for the week ending on November 5th, 2011 were 390,000. The DOL reports this as a decrease of 10,000 from the last week. The previous week was revised, from 397,000 to 400,000, an increase of 3,000. Still, initial unemployment claims are breaking 400,000 and this is a 7 month low.


Unemployment Duration Decreased -2.72% , Those not counted Wanting a Job Increased in October 2011

The October unemployment report is yet another disappointment, with not enough jobs to keep up with population growth. The jobs situation has been dismal for 46 months. While the average time being unemployed decreased -2.72% from last month, the length of unemployment is still at record highs.


Duration of Unemployment September 2011 Increased 4.96%

The September unemployment report is yet another disappointment, with not enough jobs to keep up with population growth. The jobs situation has been dismal for 45 months. Now we have a new record, the average duration of time being unemployed is at record highs for as long as the BLS has kept track, 1948. Below is the graph, which looks like a time bomb.

Unemployment 9.1% for September 2011 - 103,000 Jobs

The September 2011 monthly unemployment figures show the official unemployment rate remained at 9.1% and the total jobs gained were 103,000. 45,000 of those jobs are not new jobs, but Verizon workers who returned back to work after being on strike. Total private jobs came in at 137,000. If one subtracts off the returning strikers, September showed 82,000 new private sector jobs. Government jobs dropped -34,000.

Under the Hood of the Employment Report Household Survey

You might be wondering how the unemployment rate could stay the same, 9.1% while zero actual payrolls jobs were added. When the unemployment report is released, it's actually a 2fer. There are two separate surveys or reports: the current establishment survey, which reports on nonfarm payrolls only, and the the household survey, which uses the Census population estimates as a base. The establishment survey has an error margin of 100,000 per month, while the household survey has an error margin of 400,000 per month. Additionally the establishment survey is jobs, as reported by employers. It is W-2 types of jobs and doesn't count agriculture workers to boot, whereas the household survey estimates the self-employed, farm workers, the glorified servants of the uber-rich and my favorite, unpaid family workers.

Additionally the survey timing is different. The establishment survey picks up the pay period which includes the 12th of that month. So, whether one is paid hourly, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, they just look at the pay period which includes the 12th. No pay on the 12th and you're paid daily, then that job doesn't count, including unpaid sick days. Working one hour a month and it magically falls on the 12th? By this survey, that's actually a job.

The Household survey, also called the current population survey also takes results for the week which includes the 12th day of each month. People are counted as employed in this survey, even when they are absent from their jobs for that entire week, paid or not paid.

For more details on the surveys, see this FAQ.