Though payroll jobs (establishment survey) increased by 204,000 in October, overall employment (household survey) declined by 735,000, indicating that the U.S. employment situation remains dismal. More telling, long-term employment (of 27 weeks or more) remains at 4.1 million, approximately double the level of prior recessions. The Official Unemployment rate also remained essentially unchanged, increasing slightly from 7.2% to 7.3%. The more accurate U-6 unemployment rate which takes into account discouraged workers and workers working part-time who would like full-time work also rose from 13.6% to 13.8% in October.
The April job numbers were uniformly dismal according to both the Household and Establishment Survey. 115,000 jobs were added, even less than the disappointing March numbers of 120,000 (since revised upward to 154,000), and not nearly enough to cover the rise in the civilian labor force. This led to a significant reduction in the labor participation rate, the key significant number. There is no sign of making up for the 5-7 million jobs lost in the 2008-9 recession.
While the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% to 8.1% this was due to discouraged unemployed dropping out of the job market. In April 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. There was also 7.9 involuntary part time workers. These are people who were looking for full time work but could not find it but are not counted as unemployed.