Jobs Report for October, 2010

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued its monthly jobs report for October, and payrolls increased by 151,000 jobs while the main unemployment index was unchanged at 9.6%.

The index of unemployment remained the same while payrolls increased because the population of the United States also increased, and about the same number of new faces appeared in the labor market as the increase in payrolls.


So the “civilian non-institutional population” increased (in thousands) by 208,000 from 238,322 to 238,530, about what was expected, but…

The “civilian labor force” declined by 254,000 from 154,158 to 153,904, and that isn’t quite as easy to understand.

Likewise the “participation rate” of civilians in the civilian labor force has declined from 64.9% to 64.5% in the last year, from October 2009 to October 2010, and that four tenths of one percent decline on a base of about 238 million people means that about a million Americans are essentially nowhere in the usual measures of unemployment, neither employed or unemployed.

But they exist, and they don’t have jobs.  


  1. The Household employment survey (as opposed the headline Establishment survey) showed a decline of 330,000 jobs last month.

     Those that have been out of work for longer than 27 weeks increased by 83,000. Both the median and mean duration of unemployment rose.

    Number of persons who want a job is at the second highest rate ever. It’s a mystery how 462,000 manage to drop out of the workforce while more people than ever want a job.

    And last but not least, the number of Americans on foodstamps has reached a new record – 42.4 million.

  2. in the rise of the “temp” agency, who happens to be joined at the hip to the “medical” industry.  This adds hundreds of shades of grey between employed and unemployed.  Temp employed means sort of maybe, yeah well today at least employed.  Oh, and no benefits needed.

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