Unemployment 9.0% for October 2011 - 80,000 Jobs

The October 2011 monthly unemployment figures show the official unemployment rate dropped -0.1 percentage points to 9.0% and the total jobs gained were 80,000. Total private jobs came in at 104,000. Government jobs dropped -24,000. 15,000 of those jobs added were temporary.


unemployment rate September 2011


Below is the nonfarm payroll, the total number of jobs, seasonally adjusted. Since the start of the great recession, declared by the NBER to be December 2007, the United States has officially lost 6.48 million payroll jobs. That does not take into account additional jobs needed to employ the United States increased population, but does include the jobs added over the over 3.83 years, or 46 month time period.



Below is a running tally of how many official jobs permanently lost since the official start of this past recession. This is a horrific tally and notice this isn't taking into account increased population growth, which implies the United States needs to create at least 10.4 million jobs or self-employment. This estimate assume a 62.7% civilian non-institutional population to employment ratio, as it was in December 2007, which implies an additional 3.88 million jobs needed over a 46 month time period beyond the ones already lost.



If one takes the current civilian non-institutional population and the December 2007 to employment ratio and then subtracts off the current number of payroll jobs, the number of jobs to get to pre-recession levels is much worse, 19.13 million jobs. This 19 million jobs needed number doesn't take into account population subset fluctuations, for example, those retired percentages increasing. It also isn't taking into account agriculture workers and self-employed, currently at 2.27 million and 8.52 million, respectfully. Reported Payrolls only counts nonfarm jobs, no matter how many hours of work they actually are. Many people work 2 to 3 jobs to get by. 8.9 million of the 27.29 million part-timers working low hours are doing so because they cannot get full time jobs.

Additionally, the monthly payroll increases are within the margin of error for job growth. See Under the Hood for payrolls and employment statistics error margins details.

The increasingly low labor participation rate is now at 64.2%, the same as September. If we go back to December 2007, the labor participation rate was 66%. The highest civilian labor participation rate was in January 2000, at 67.3%. What this means is there are over 4.38 million people not be accounted for in the official unemployment rate, in other words counted as employed or unemployed, who probably need a job and can't find one. That's in addition to the official 13.9 million unemployed.


\tiny \text (10/11 Civilian Non-institutional Population) * (\text 10/11 labor participation rate - \text 12/07 labor participation rate)



The employment to population ratio is now 58.4%, an uptick of 0.1 percentage point, but still at record lows. You have to go back to the severe recession of 1983, October to find such low ratios. The uber-low ratios are not a structural change, such as all families decided to have a stay at home caretaker, or magically a host of people could retire early. The low employment to population ratio are people dropping out of the labor count.

These numbers are important because unemployment is a ratio, percentage or during a limited time period, the number of people actively looking for a job and counted. Many people are not counted in the official unemployment statistics, yet when looking behind the official numbers it's clear America has more potential workers and less jobs in so called recovery than during one of the worst post WWII recessions.



One needs at least 90,000 and some estimate up to 225,000 permanent full time jobs, added each month just to keep pace with U.S. civilian workforce population growth. That's not general population, that's the group needing a job.

January 2012 will finally incorporate the 2010 Census numbers for increased population in the BLS Household survey. Not only will this affect labor participation and employment to population ratios, but it will also give a improved non-institutional civilian population estimate, upon which calculations to figure out how many jobs are needed each month for population growth, are based.

This unemployment report is dismal, like almost all of the monthly unemployment reports for the last 46 months. The BLS Commisioner's Statement claims there has been an average of 125,000 payroll jobs each month. That's true, but if one takes the last 6 months, the average is 90,300 payroll jobs per month.

The United States has jobs crisis going on for over 46 months! Watch out for pundits trying to claim this is a good report, it's not.

Here is last month's unemployment report overview, unrevised. The BLS has some revisions for August and September which are a big improvement from the originally reported numbers.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +57,000 to +104,000, and the change for September was revised from +103,000 to +158,000

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Departure in statistics in 2008

We must recall that some 85,000 (or more) H-1B visa "initial employment approvals" became active on October 1st. The net employment gain for was likely negative 5000 for citizens and permanent residents in October.

I've noticed a fairly radical departure in the Labor Statistics. Looking at the "change" in the two categories since End of Year 1999:

Series title: (Unadj) Civilian Labor Force Level

Series title: (Unadj) Not in Labor Force

Data Source: CPS Labor Force Statistics

Generally, the "trend" in these two categories is constant, in Oct. 2008 we see a drastic departure in long term trends.  I say this because if one were interested in hiding a large unemployment statistic, one could make the determination that those unemployed persons are no longer seeking employment and then classify them as "Not in the Labor Force".  Additionally, one might under-report population growth to minimize the unemployment statistic.


For the period I've measured,  growth of persons in "Not in the Labor Force " has exceeded the "Civilian Population" increases, 17,290,000 to 14,147,000 respectively.




44,000 in Employment growth for the month of October would fit the professions eligible to H-1B temporary workers.

Source: Employment Situation Summary, Nov. 4, 2011

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up
in October (+32,000) and has grown by 562,000 over the past 12 months.
Within the industry, there have been modest job gains in recent months
in temporary help services and in management and technical consulting

Health care employment continued to expand in October 2011 (+12,000),
following a gain of 45,000 in September. Offices of physicians added
8,000 jobs in October. Over the past 12 months, health care has added
313,000 jobs.

85k H-1B all added on 10/1?

They are all added at one time, at that date? That seems odd since the survey in payrolls is from employers, and then the household survey goes into homes.

So, as far as I know employers do not all hire H-1Bs only on 10/1. If you can cite differently give me a link please.

I get you're trying to say the USCIS approves all Visas (although the cap/application is one thing, using them I thought is another), by certain dates but I thought that was in Q1, done by April or so, each year.

H-1B initial employment.

Yes, the H-1B application date is April 1, the commencement date is Oct. 1 which began first fiscal qtr. of 2012.

From the H-1B wiki:

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services accepts H1-B visa applications no more than 6 months in advance of the requested start date, which is the start of the US fiscal year (October 1st of the previous year). Thus the first business day of April opens the H1-B visa application window.[8]

8 ^ "Information for Completing and Submitting an FY 2010 H-1B Cap Case". USCIS. Archived from the original on 2011-08-18. http://www.webcitation.org/612crusvx. Retrieved 2011-08-18. "H-1B petitions can be filed no more than six months in advance of the requested start date. Therefore, petitions seeking an FY 2010 H-1B Cap number with an Oct. 1, 2009 start date can be filed no sooner than April 1, 2009."


ok, but trying to claim this months jobs are H-1B is plain wrong

Every month I do point out foreign guest workers and illegals are counted in the statistics, but that said, one cannot say this month it's all H-1Bs. The payrolls are done by business survey, each month. So, the H-1Bs come year round in so many words via the survey.

Does it matter?

I agree that we can't objectively state that all of this months jobs went to temporary worker, Currently, the cap subject H-1B applications are 70.800 with an unknown number of exemptions. 

BLS data is seasonally adjusted and subject to revision, they know the temporary workers are coming.  Further, the DOL manages the BLS and the Labor Certification Applications for H-1B.  I'd say there is a lot of pressure on BLS to use all of the tricks in the book to deliver a better job number.  Does it matter if the H-1B arrive in Oct. or Nov -- especially if they were hired in Oct.?

The Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, shows 1.14 million non-immigrant admissions for FY-2010, from India which generally contributes about 50,000 H-1B, so the airlines are quite capable of transporting the workers in a single month.  

After waiting six months, and with the three/six year clock ticking, and business preferring the H-1B over the green-card due to expedience (no FBI background check), why would you think that these workers wouldn't go to work immediately?


It matters to be accurate, yes

This site is an economics site and when it comes to analyzing, overviewing government statistics, it's key critical to be accurate because so many in the press, never mind regular people, get it wrong.

So, don't worry, every month when I overview this report, and I still have two more overviews to work on, I mention that foreign guest workers and illegals are counted, both in civilian non-institutional population and employed statistics.

But if you want to gain credibility that U.S. workers are being labor arbitraged by foreign workers on guest worker Visas, it's key critical to be deadly accurate and present valid data, statistics.