Unemployment rate drops in October
The unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 9 percent last month, marking the first decrease since July and the lowest rate of unemployment since April. There were several other pieces of good news in the October report, which is serving to alleviate economists’ fears that the U.S. may be headed toward a second recession.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the economy added about 80,000 jobs in October. In addition, the department revised its jobs reports from August and September, stating that the economy added 102,000 more jobs during those months than had previously been reported. One of the most promising aspects of the most recent report is that the number of long-term unemployed fell to 5.9 million. This means that fewer people are being forced to consider bankruptcy or similar measures after being out of work for six months or more.
Despite the progress, there is still a long way to go. The economy needs to add 125,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth, and even more to lower the unemployment rate.
One of the most closely-monitored industries is construction, which cut about 20,000 jobs in October. Economists believe that the continuing decline in construction jobs means that the housing market is still a long way from recovery.
However, several other industries added jobs last month. Health care jobs increased by 12,000, and hospitality and entertainment businesses added more than 20,000 jobs. The professional and business services sector, which includes engineering and accounting, added more than 30,000 jobs.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “US added 80,000 jobs in October; jobless rate dips,” Christopher S. Rugaber, Nov. 4, 2011