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You are Here: Home > Blog > Unemployment Rate – November 2017

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Unemployment Rate – November 2017

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Another strong jobs report in November and the unemployment rate remained at its lowest level in 17 years.

According to the most recent monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the private sector gained 221,000 nonfarm jobs in November. Local, state and federal governments gained 7,000 jobs, resulting in 228,000 total net job gains.

Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month so far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187,000 last year.

After BLS revisions, September and October combined showed job gains of 3,000. The BLS had initially reported only 18,000 job gains for September, due to hurricanes. September now shows job gains of 38,000. Still low, but better.

Job growth continued in professional and business services, with the industry racking up 46,000 in November. The industry has added 548,000 jobs over the past year.

Manufacturing (31,000), health care (30,000) and construction (23,000) also showed significant job gains in November (job gains shown in parenthesis). Other major industries showed little change.

The unemployment rate in November held at 4.1 percent, its lowest level since December 2000 when it was 3.9 percent.

The average hourly wage for all private-sector employees showed a monthly gain, rising by 5 cents to $26.55. The average hourly wage increased by 5 cents to $22.24 for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees.

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Unemployment Rate 2016-2017
Unemployment Rate Chart 2016 to 2017

The unemployment rate edged down to 4.1 percent in October and remained there in November. The total number of workers that the BLS counted as unemployed in November was 6.8 million, up a bit from 6.5 million in October.

The count of unemployed workers does not include those who are involuntarily working only part time and with fewer benefits, if any, such as no health insurance, because they can’t find full-time jobs or employers cut their work hours. The number of involuntarily part-timers in November was 4.8 million, the same as in October.

The average workweek in November for all part-timers and full-timers in the private sector was 34.5 hours, up slightly from 34.4 in the month before.

The unemployment rate also does not include “marginally-attached” unemployed workers. The BLS does not count them in the official rate because they stopped looking for work in the four weeks preceding the count, for reasons such as school attendance, family matters or their collective perception that there simply are no jobs — at least not for them.

The number of marginally-attached workers in November was 1.5 million, the same as in October. Among the marginally-attached, 469,000 were so-called “discouraged workers” because they gave up looking for work due to their shared perception that there are no jobs. That was down from 524,000 in October. (The BLS does not seasonally adjust any of the figures in this paragraph.)

The number of long-term unemployed workers, those who have been without jobs for 27 weeks or longer, was 1.6 million in November, the same as in October. These workers accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed. Standard state unemployment benefits last only up to 26 weeks without extensions.

If you are a recent victim of a job loss or a reduction in work hours, then you might be eligible to collect full or partial unemployment benefits from the state unemployment office. You might also be eligible to continue your employer-provided group health insurance coverage through COBRA.

For more details about the November 2017 unemployment rate and job numbers, see the “Employment Situation Summary” by the BLS. The BLS plans to report the December unemployment rate and job numbers on Friday, January 5, 2018. To receive notification like the above automatically, subscribe to Employee Rights Blog for free.

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Except where otherwise noted, figures in this unemployment rate report were rounded and/or seasonally adjusted by the BLS, and are subject to revision by same (based on additional data that was not initially available). The unemployment rate chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.

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