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HomeNewsEconomyOctober Jobs Report Missed Mark, Internals Highlight Why No One Feels Recovery

October Jobs Report Missed Mark, Internals Highlight Why No One Feels Recovery

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Americans seeking full- and part-time work fill out job applications at a workshop. (Photo: REUTERS)

The Department of Labor said Friday that the U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October, citing a BLS jobs report missing the expected 231,000-job gain. The headline unemployment number dropped to the lowest level since 2008 — 5.8 percent — driven in large part to a civilian labor force participation rate that has stubbornly remained at 62.8 percent.

In October, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, or persons who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. However, they were not counted by the government as unemployed, because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks prior.

Among the marginally attached, there were 770,000 discouraged workers in the month of October, and 7 million persons employed part-time only for economic reasons, which are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

The 214,000 jobs gained in October represented the ninth consecutive month that the economy has created more than 200,000 jobs, but many economists point to the underlying weaknesses, such as low or no wage growth, shrinking work-weeks, and employment-to-population ratios. With the Federal Reserve looking for growth in hourly wages as they craft a way to implement their announced policy shift away from money-printing and bond-buying, the numbers aren’t at all encouraging.

“Although the headline number is decent, the details behind the curtain will be particularly concerning to investors and Main Street,” said Todd Schoenberger, Managing Partner of LandColt Capital LP, in New York. “Wage growth is embarrassingly low, especially considering where we are in terms of the so-called economic recovery. And the variety of jobs continues to be a joke. Two-thirds of jobs created in 2014 pay just above minimum wage, whereas less than 50% of jobs created in 2013 were of the low-income variety. Today’s weak report validates Tuesday’s election outcome as voters remain angry at their economic outlook.”

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly cited wage growth as a leading indicator for the Fed watching for signs that the labor market is truly strengthening beyond the misleading headline unemployment rate.

“U.S. unemployment fell to a six-year low of 5.8% in October as companies continued to take on staff in impressive numbers. The data add to signs that the economy is enjoying another period of strong growth in the fourth quarter. However, lackluster wage growth takes some of the shine off the improvement in the employment situation, and also acts as a bar to raising interest rates,” said Chris Williamson, analyst at research firm Markit.

However, there is a downside to rapid wage growth — inflationary pressure. When wages rise too quickly, then it can lead to runaway inflation and eventually cut into corporate profits. The Fed’s shocking announcement they would end quantitative easing led many on Wall Street and beyond to question whether the Fed underestimated the danger of inflation due to their policies aimed at propping up an otherwise weak economy.

As has been the case since the financial crisis, the majority of jobs created were in part-time or low-paying positions.

Food services and drinking places added 42,000 jobs, retail trade rose by 27,000, general merchandise stores added 12,000, while the manufacturing workweek was unchanged again at just 40.8 hours.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • The government can’t force wage growth in the private labor market; all it can do is create a positive labor environment where wages have a chance to increase. It’s up to companies to increase wages. You didn’t mention the factors that are inhibiting wage growth, bad trade deals, a falling union participation rate, not raising the minimum wage in decades. The ACA should help wage growth since people aren’t tied to their jobs for health coverage anymore. It up to the workers. You’re going to have to get more aggressive and demand higher wages or go out and find jobs with higher wages.

    • If they say they do not want to work unpaid overtime, just that is enough for them to lose their jobs. A raise? Never happen.

    • The minimum wage was raised in 2007 and took effect in 2009… so hardly been decades

      • The real minimum wage adjusted for inflation has dropped significantly since Reagan decided not to adjust it to keep up with inflation.

        • That’s right – blame a dead guy who has been out of power for 26 years.

          • That’s what they do and the stupid eat it up.

          • Bush gave the economy cancer.

          • Bush is still alive.

          • The man being talked about in this thread was Reagan.

          • Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it! Of course an intelligent person is going to examine Reagan’s influence on the current economic situation. For better or for worse.

          • Reagan is a rotting cadaver who has little or nothing to do with today.

            “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

            That is the quote from George Santayana.

        • Then simply set the minimum wage to the rate of inflation which Republicans have attempted to do several times and Democrats don’t want to have happen. Sheesh.

          Or we cold be like Germany rather than France and simply not have a minimum wage. After all if you look at cost of living then there are some states that do NOT need a minimum wage increase and others that need it badly. Maybe it should be left to the States?

      • The inflation adjusted minimum wage has steadily dropped since 1968. That sounds like decades to me. Facts aren’t optional.

        • First of all even inflation has been adjusted, and most economists would suggest that inflation is too high based on Greenspan’s changes in the early 80’s. Second, if you want to cherry pick a high point of minimum wage then yes you are right, 1968 was the high point, go back 8 years to 1960 then you would see that it is THE SAME AS TODAY. Cherry picking a high point is foolish. So I would suggest that saying FACT’s are not optional simply makes you look foolish when you are obviously simply repeating talking points of others rather then UNDERSTANDING the facts.

          Goodness, watch out rampant ignorance here masquerading as thoughtful analysis.

    • At my wife’s workplace every full time position has been cut to 30 or less hours because of the ACA employer demand to provide insurance. And lots of workers have quit because they qualified for a subsidy, and got their insurance for “free”. Bad advice and incorrect “facts” amigo.

  • i know why..but your all more crazier then me.

    • Learn to write in English before you comment again.

      • you have a problem..you should come say it to my face.

      • you just mad cause i know something you dont. go shoot yourself like your religion tells you to.

      • hearing voices in your head again..that can kill you. and no you dont know.

  • The labor participation rate at 62.5% tells the real story. More than 1/3rd of working age Americans don’t have jobs. The participation rate hasn’t been this low in 40 years. The government’s glowing unemployment numbers completely miss the mark because they don’t count discouraged workers who have simply given up.

    This structural unemployment among the Hopeless and Changeless is the real issue which must be addressed. The Obama regime came to power promising to fix this, but all they have accomplished is to require the poor to purchase health insurance.

    • This has more to do with demographics as baby boomers are retiring.

      • That’s not the reason–retired people aren’t included in the labor force, period. Since they’re omitted from both the denominator and the numerator, their retirement has no impact.

        • I researched the definition of participation rate on the bureau of labor statistics and your comment is incorrect. The participation rate is the total of employed and unemployed divided by the total of peopleover the age of 16 who are not institutionalised. So those over 65 are not included as participating in the labor force since many are not actively looking for work. The same applies to students. That is why the participation rate is declining as people retire fewer are participating in the workforce. See http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat03.pdf

          • ” So those over 65 are not included as participating in the labor force since many are not actively looking for work.” That is essentially what I said: “retired people aren’t included in the labor force, period.” Any technical incorrectness did not affect the simple fact that if you are retired your are not looking for work and are not counted in the labor force.

          • What I originally stated was correct which is the decrease in the participation rate reflects the demographics of baby boomers retiring. The definition of the participation rate is a formula of the labor force which is all those over 16 who are not institutionalised who are employed or unemployed but seeking work divided by the total number of people over 16 who are not institutionalised. That means retired people are included in both the numerator (labor force if they are working or seeking work) and denominator (total people over 16 not institutionalised) when calculating the participation rate. That explains why the participation rate is declining as the participation of those over 65 in the labor force is very low as many retire and are not working or seeking work. Do you understand this?

          • Joseph is correct. I am not going to go into an economics 101 argument, because you have Google Search anytime you get fed-up with being a product of your big government slave-masters. It may require you read more than one or two pages, but that’s the way it has always been for those who seek truth, i.e. Marcus Cicero.

      • Really? If they were retiring, wouldn’t they would be dropped from the Labor Participation pool? If you were correct, the pool would be shrinking at a faster rate, and the participation rate would be declining.

        • they are dropped from both the labor force and the labor participation force.
          simplified version:
          labor force = those who are eligible and capable of working.
          labor participation force = the number of people in the labor force that are either employed or looking for employment.
          unemployment rate: the rate at which people lose work. Note that this is not a quantity, it is a rate. It is the ratio between new jobs created, and jobs lost in the labor participation force.
          By manipulating the definition of labor participation force, adjusting for seasonal changes, etc, the government can produce almost any number they want.
          No one considers the current method for determining unemployment anything other than a political statement. The actual unemployment rate is well over 13% and the uderemployement rate is far higher.

      • You don’t understand what the labor participation rate measures. Only people 18 to 65 are included. Retired baby boomers aren’t part of that demographic.

        • Not true, the participation rate includes all over 16 who are not institutionalized. That is why the participation rate is declining, baby boomers are retiring.

    • Start your own business. This is America, land of the self-sufficient.

  • These actual employment figures, not the phony feel-good ones issued by defeated Obama administration, are big part of reason Democrats were defeated in midterm election. When you look at job data that says people are earning enough to live on, it says Democrats are as useless as Republicans in creating significant jobs. So what is the point of voting Democrat, only to get screwed over all the same in your finances?

    • This election proves that you can fool most Americans most of the time.

      • yeah, for every job number released, I usually blow them off as more numbers cooked by a desperate, failed administration, while the democrat base continues to believe they are succeeding. Talk about being fooled!

    • You’re partly right–democrats aren’t very good at creating new jobs But the real problem is that the jobs that would have been in America 40 to 50 years ago are now spread throughout Asian low-wage countries.

      Until the US figures out how to defeat the policies that allow jobs to emigrate, at least the Democrats are more willing than Republicans to support unemployed and impoverished Americans.

    • The same method is used to assess ALL administrations! Reagan, Bush, Clinton, W. Bush and Obama! It’s a system to measure movement in the job market. Apply the criticism equally across the political spectrum!

  • We need all the mathematicians and software engineers we can get. Why aren’t all these people applying for these jobs?

    • Foreign workers are brought in with visas with the jobs already guaranteed to them.
      US workers are never even allowed to apply for those jobs.

      The US State Department’s number one job appears to be flooding the US labor market with millions of foreign workers a year to keep US wages low and US citizens unemployed and in debt.

      • There are far more jobs than can be filled by foreigners. Conservatives would rather complain than work.

        • Yea, the conservatives aren’t working… jackass.

          • I have flagged your comment for your ad hominem insult. Is that a conservative value?

    • Because we’re already employed. If companies want to poach talent, they’re going to have to offer better compensation, which seems inevitable. Eventually companies will realize that they are losing more money by not being more competitive. Even the constant and outsourcing markets are being stretched relatively thin.

      • I know US graduates with Computer Science degrees that could only find work in lower level IT jobs.

        They were also from the top percentage of their class, but graduated from what are called fly over states and not from California or New York.

        • This is true, many recent grads of any field are having problems getting jobs in their field of study. However, from what I’ve seen, people with CS / CE / SE degrees have one of the lowest rates of this happening, statistically speaking.

        • Which fly over colleges in particular?

        • Are these folks willing to relocate to those states and put up with the high cost of living and do it a little tough for a couple years until settled into the area and saved some money to buy a house or do they think they are simply entitled to the easy life because they were born in the USA? I love this country and have chosen to sacrifice family and friends to live here and it is tough to make it with high costs, competitive market for talent but if you’re good enough and willing to work hard those two states have unbelievable opportunity.

    • I’m guessing not many of “all these people” were math majors in college.

      • Poor excuse. Americans are adaptable. College is for liberal elites.

        • Haha good one. It took Newton more than 10 years to formalize The Calculus, and that’s the lowest math class in a university. There’s no ‘adapting’ that can impart knowledge and experience that took a genius 10 years to invent. And that’s the lowest class in a math major. Statistics, Number Theory, Differential Equations, etc. You don’t have a clue.

          • You sound like a liberal to me.

          • Wow, you are a true psychic. I have been a conservative for 40 years, and a math major. Push yourself away from the computer – the electronics are messing with your brain. Good luck!.

          • A conservative mathematician? Sounds like schizophrenia to me.

          • You may wish to quit before you are crushed and beaten into a pulp…

          • I have flagged your comment for a threat of violence. Is that a conservative value?

          • Martin, who protects you when you say stupid things in public and then threaten to “flag comments”? I’m thinking you just get your ass kicked because there is no web master there to help you….I’m thinkin you get your ass kicked alot.

          • No moderator here? Then you’re a bigger piece of shit than I thought.

          • Ha! Look at me…and then go look at yourself in a mirror..are ya sure you want to go there?

          • I have flagged your comment for inappropriate language.

    • In this economy, I think it is better to be good-looking and well-connected than it is to be hardworking and well-educated.
      Unfortunately I have teeth like a beaver and it took me this long to realize that orthodontics would have been a better investment than an engineering degree.
      Plastic surgery, personal trainers, and gym memberships are all better investments than the prestigious $200k engineering degree. How you dress is also important, because presentation and appearances matter in America more than all else. Then do toastmasters or find some other way to become good at public speaking or otherwise become a good conversationalist to really get into upper management.
      You see, companies don’t actually need that many geniuses, and if they really do, they can be easily imported on h1b visa. American geniuses always want too much money (probably to pay off those student loans).

  • I am tired month after month when the news comes that more than 200 000 new jobs have been created and that the unemployment rate is down down down now to 5.8% and then the press says how that is not good. It is great. What they should be saying is that now they should raise the minimum wage and stop blaming unions for losing jobs. Now instead of working on our problems we are going to be subjected to two more years of politics politics and more politics. No break for Congress working instead of raising money for next elections. Something is wrong with our system.

    • If you read over in the financials on the Fed right now, they are writing about how wage increases will cause inflation that will cut into corporate profits.
      A massive underclass with no real middle class is exactly the way they want things and what they donate/bribe to political campaign funds for.

      In the past people organized against this oppression and exploitation.
      Now they just suck up the corporate propaganda from the news feeds of the Red Team or Blue Team of their choice like a bunch of crazy fan girls for pop stars.

  • When are the people going to receive economic data that actually matters?
    For example, how many total full time jobs are there in the US now, as a percentage of the total US population? What was that figure back in, say, before Reagan ruled us in 1980?
    What is the average ratio of corporate revenue derived from the US divided by corporate labor expenses incurred in the US, now and, what the hey, say before Reagan in 1980? (check out Apple’s profits per “employee” for shock value).
    What is the ratio of the total US personal income tax revenue to total US GDP now and back in, oh, say pre-Reagan again?
    There are a ton of other ratios and computations that are useful to understanding what’s going on in the US. Don’t expect to see them anytime soon… precisely because they would be useful in understanding what’s going on in the US.

  • The unemployment figures are Goebbelsian lies – unemployment is at least 20%, and the ’employment’ available is dead end jobs like those available at gas stations, McDonald’s and Walmart.

    A ditch digger has more of a chance at success in the atmosphere of today; a revolution is the only answer.

    • You’d rather complain than work at Walmart?

      • I’m guessing that Lemnoc would rather live in a country where an underpaid job at Walmart, selling Chinese merchandise to other underpaid Americans, is not the highest aspiration of a third of the population.

        Me too.

        • Why do you think the democrats are pushing for a new minimum wage somewhere between $10 and $15/ hr? Because all most the jobs that they produced with all the spending for jobs have only produced only the low paying minimum wage service type jobs. Pushing the higher minimum wage would placate the low information low paid workers.

      • I work for myself, my home is paid off, and I have zero debt – I don’t have to work at Walmart.

  • If a 12 year old kid opens up a lemonade stand on the corner they`ll probably count that as employment..

    • Is that so?

  • Five engineers run a factory of robots that build 5,000 cars a month. Is that a conservative value?

  • Its funny, actually not really funny at all how the press, yourselves included pay attention to this number know as the “Unemployment Rate”..it is a moving target based on jobs added and lost against presently unemployed with long term lost jobs constantly removed from the measure – its a joke! Net Net, how many people are NOT WORKING, that can, but are on welfare, unemployment, food stamps or various other government doles is the real number, putting unemployed into the teens or twenty plus percent range. Eligible Workers to can’t, or won’t work…but lets keep sending them a check, or not and pretending we have less than 6% unemployment. Who actually believes this garbage, or Obama when he says he loves to get out and see “the folks”..he ought to go to see the folks in some of the impoverished areas, instead of Star’s and CEO’s and staged town hall gatherings, the folks would tell him their hurting and it has NOT gotten any better for them since he came to office…

  • inflation is already to high compared to what the average person is making in wages, try explaining that to the fed, of course they already know this that’s why they never mention the wage vs inflation ratio

  • DaH, with 17 million Mexicans here and working illegally Obama and the democrats have destroyed manufacturing in the US and with it the Middle class. The Lies put out by the democrats are ACTS OF TRAITORS and current administration should be put on trial for HIGH TREASON.

    What I do not understand is why the
    black community supports the democrats and Obama with letting 17
    million illegals steal their jobs. Make no mistake these are good
    jobs paying 20 to 40 dollars an hour in retail, construction
    and service. Of all groups the Black community ordered into compounds
    and feed food stamps, cheap phones, pushed around by cops are hurt
    the worst by the Obama economic policy’s with some intercity black
    unemployment at 50 percent 50 percent. If I were black I would look
    up that guy in the neighborhood that was telling everyone to vote for
    Obama because he and Obama has stiffed you big time.

  • The American government could solve quite a few problems at once by trust-busting these huge global corporations. Back in America’s heyday, in the 50’s and 60’s, there were many small and medium corporations (and none close to the size of the global monsters today) making everything from shoes to rocket parts and competing in a truly open marketplace. There were lots of quality management positions and much innovation, and smaller companies didn’t have to fear being either bought out or put out or business due to huge, dominate market players. Going back to small, local companies would not only address the income inequality Americans are experiencing, but strengthen our economy (since we would be making our goods on our own soil), help the environment, increase corporate income tax paid into the Federal and state treasuries, lower the influence of corporate power on American politics and governance, and offset the impact of growing automation, which is gobbling jobs up at an alarming rate in its own right. We would also fare better internationally because the exploitation of low-cost labor, which isn’t lost on foreign countries, would cease, and the breaking up of monopolies would stop the price-fixing and push to access natural resources that is so prevalent today.

    • Greed is the killer! Henry Ford had the right idea when he said something to the effect;” I want to pay my workers a salary that allows them to afford to buy my product!” Spread that around a little and things will change, quickly!

  • When the new full time employment is now 30 hours a week instead of 40 and most of the jobs are for part time how can the citizens of this country feel the recovery if there is one?

  • It boggles the mind how the government media sheep keep bleating the same unbelievable fiction that are the “Jobs Numbers”. Nobody believes them and nobody outside of NPR actually thinks things are getting better. A part-time job is only a job when it comes to finagling the jobs report. Seasonal jobs are also welcome. Why not count temp work? And who knows if they do or not. The only thing that is important is that they are making the numbers go down. Nothing else matters.
    This is just another Propaganda piece by the sycophantic media defending the bunglers and bureaucratic hacks that run the country. They are in bed together and there isn’t a word to be believed. Why are we buying products from their advertisers? Why are we paying attention to the pages they have links on?

  • You know one month they add 500 jobs and next week they cut 600 jobs, it has no sense. Whatever the government does, the unemployment remains at historically high levels. If you are looking for job, you don’t need those reports. In most cases you have to work hard and attend lots of interviews to reach the goal. For successful job search you need professionally written resume; search for resume and CV writing online if you have some resume writing issues. Everything depends on your professional behavior, but a good resume and a well written cover letter is the very first requirement to get job interview proposal.

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