Friday, November 6, 2020

October jobs report: extremely strong monthly gains overall, but at this rate still another 18 months from full jobs recovery


 - by New Deal democrat

  • 638,000 million jobs gained. The gains since May total about 55% of the 22.1 million job losses in March and April. The alternate, and more volatile measure in the household report was 2,243,000 jobs gained, which factors into the unemployment and underemployment rates below.
  • U3 unemployment rate declined -1.0% from 7.9% to 6.9%, compared with the January low of 3.5%.
  • U6 underemployment rate declined -0.7% from 12.8% to 12.1%, compared with the January low of 6.9%.
  • Those on temporary layoff decreased -1,432,000 to 3,205,000.
  • Permanent job losers decreased by 72,000 to 3,684,000.
  • August was revised upward by 4,000. September was also revised upward by 11,000 respectively, for a net gain of 15,000 jobs compared with previous reports.
Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession

I am still highlighting these because of their leading nature for the economy overall.  These were positive: 
  • the average manufacturing workweek rose  0.3 hours from 40.2 hours to 40.5 hours. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI and will be a strong positive.
  • Manufacturing jobs rose by 38,000. Manufacturing has still lost -621,000  jobs in the past 8 months, or 4.8% of the total. 55% of the total loss of 10.6% has been regained.
  • Construction jobs rose by 84,000. Even so, in the past 7 months -294,000 construction jobs have been lost, 3.8% of the total. About 75% of the worst loss of 15.2% loss has been regained.
  • Residential construction jobs, which are even more leading, rose by 18,000. In the past 8 months there have still been -6,400 lost jobs, or about 0.8% of the total.
  • temporary jobs rose by 108,700. Since February, there have still been -342,700 jobs lost, or 11.7% of all temporary help jobs.
  • the number of people unemployed for 5 weeks or less declined by -52,000 to 2.5 million, compared with April’s total of 14.283 million.
  • Professional and business employment rose by 208,000, which is still -1,149,000, or about 5.3% below its February peak.

Wages of non-managerial workers
  • Average Hourly Earnings for Production and Nonsupervisory Personnel: rose $0.05 from $24.77 to $24.82, which is a gain of 3.6% in the 8 months since the pandemic began. Gains had previously reflected that job losses were primarily among lower wage earners, who have been disproportionately recalled to work. That we have increased employment and increased wages as well is a very positive development.

Aggregate hours and wages:
  • the index of aggregate hours worked for non-managerial workers rose by 1.2%. In the past 8 months combined this has nevertheless fallen by about -6.3%.
  •  the index of aggregate payrolls for non-managerial workers rose by 1.4%. In the past 8 months combined this has nevertheless fallen by about -3.0%. Close to 80% of the loss from February to April has been made back up.

Other significant data:
  • Full time jobs were responsible for 1.0 million of the gain in the household report.
  • Part time jobs were responsible for 1.2 million of the gain in the household report.
  • The number of job holders who were part time for economic reasons increased by 383,000 to 6.683 million. This is still an increase since February of 2,365,000.

Important note: There was a decline of 268,000 in government jobs. This included -147,000 census workers and -159,000 teachers!


This was an extremely strong report. About the only negative was the big decline in education jobs, which may have been a quirk of seasonality.  Everything else was positive.

The household report’s gain of over 2 million jobs was responsible for most of the good news, including the decline in the un- and under-employment rates, and gains in both full and part-time jobs, as well as gains in aggregate hours and payrolls.

Further, all of the leading jobs sectors showed gains. This bodes well for the months ahead.

Nevertheless, only a little over half of all of the jobs lost due to the pandemic have come back, and the rate of increase since June has slowed to a *relative* crawl. It would take another 18 months, at the rate of this month’s job gains, to get back to the number of jobs that existed in February.