September Jobs Report: Not Quite Out of the Woods
October 8, 2012 8:24 am
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report Friday, and it should have been good news. The economy added 114,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dipped under 8 percent to 7.8 — the lowest it’s been since 2009. Not only that, but unlike previous months, the drop wasn’t from discouraged workers dropping out of the workforce; Americans are getting back to work. Average hourly wages for private sector employees increased by 3.6 percent, and weekly earnings went up 7.3 percent.
Still, analysts pointed to several indicators spurning what might otherwise be optimism at the new numbers. Economic Policy Institute reports on the unlucky percentage of the population who haven’t felt the recovery:
- Unemployment in September was 8.7 percent for those age 25 and older with a high school degree but no additional education, and 4.1 percent for those age 25 and older with a college degree or more. Among workers younger than age 25 who are not enrolled in school, unemployment over the last 12 months averaged 20.7 percent for those with a high school degree and 7.9 percent for those with a college degree (annual averages are used here since seasonally adjusted data are not available for workers under age 25 by education). These numbers show that young workers have been particularly hard hit by unemployment. They also show that workers with higher levels of education have lower unemployment. However, workers at all levels of education have seen their unemployment rates roughly double since 2007, showing that our persistent high unemployment problem is not a “skills” problem, since demand for workers has dropped at all levels of education.
- Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be hit particularly hard by unemployment. Unemployment in September was 13.4 percent for African American workers, 9.9 percent for Hispanic workers, and 7.0 percent for white workers, (up 4.4, 3.6, and 2.6 percentage points, respectively, since the start of the recession).
The EPI report recommends that the Federal Government take substantial steps to encourage public sector hiring — the public sector added 10,000 jobs in September; a drop in the bucket when compared to the 572,000 public jobs lost in the recession.
Image from here