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Nov 6 | Oct Jobs Report

Another jobs day, another month without relief, another day of spin from people an d politicians who aren't experiencing the real life struggle of unemployment, job search, or the economic implications of the report.

The October Jobs Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today just further proves the need for relief. Here is the full report.

What did we learn this month?

We recovered 638,000 jobs. The "unemployment rate" fell to 6.9%. 11.1 million workers are still officially unemployed. While 6.9% is an improvement it is still higher than the unemployment rate ever got in the early 2000s recession.

Many elected officials want us to believe that these numbers mean we are in the midst of a robust recovery (untrue) and don't need a robust stimulus bill (untrue).

McConnell called today's jobs report a "stunning indication of a dramatic comeback of the economy" saying that it called for a less robust stimulus package, according to Washington Post's Erica Werner.

As people who are unemployed and struggling to find jobs, we know the struggle is still real and deep, but here's a deeper dive, supplemented by analysis from EPI, that proves we need more relief by the numbers.

First, let us acknowledge that COVID is CONTINUING to get WORSE in this country. We just hit the all time high for most cases in a single day internationally. Hospitals in many states are becoming overrun again.

We should not be pushing reopenings to recover the economy. That plan is failing. People are desperate and dying for it. The lack of relief is forcing people back into unsafe jobs, many of which aren't sustainable.

Recovery is slowing and far from complete.

We lost 22 million jobs at the start of the pandemic. We have only recovered half of those jobs. There are still over 10 million fewer jobs than there were pre-pandemic.

We are actually in a jobs deficit of over 11.6 millions jobs when you take into account the 1.6 million jobs that should have been added in 2020 were we not in a major recession.

While a 6.9% unemployment rate is an improvement it is still higher than it was at any point during the early 2000s recession.

We have a greater jobs deficit today than we did at the very worst point of any previous postwar recession, including the Great Recession.

Many of the added jobs were temporary jobs.

99,490 of the jobs added were temporary jobs related to the census that will disappear in the next few months. Temporary jobs do not indicate recovery.

More Job Loss is Coming

Layoffs continue without relief. With COVID surging again, this trend will likely multiply.

130,000 jobs in state and local governments were lost in October. Over the last 8 months that number has been 1.3 million job losses, with over 1 million of those being in public education.

Without federal aid to state and local governments, 5.3 million workers will likely lose their jobs by the end of 2021, many of whom are employed in public education.

Long Term Unemployment is at an all-time high

The October jobs report shows the number of long-term unemployed people (those without work for 27 weeks or more) grew by 1.2 million. In the last two months alone there was an increase of almost 2 million long-term unemployed workers.

This is a significant problem considering the fact that PUA and PEUC expire at the end of December and so the increasing number of people stuck in long term unemployment will lose all assistance.

3.7 million Americans are unemployed due to a permanent job loss. 3.7 million jobs are not coming back.

These numbers don't even include everyone

We know we say this every jobs report, but it is worth restating, these unemployment numbers DO NOT calculate people who may be temporarily unemployed or people who were dropped from the labor force numbers altogether because they are "not actively seeking work". 

People who qualify as "not actively seeking work" are millions who are not able to seek work because of COVID. During a pandemic, this number is unusually high. It is unwise and unjust to legislate based on incomplete numbers.

The BLS reports that in October, there were 11.1 million workers who were officially unemployed. But there were also an additional:

  • 600,000 workers who were temporarily unemployed, but misclassified as “employed not at work" instead of unemployed.

  • 4.5 million workers out of work as a result of the virus but were being counted as having dropped out of the labor force because they weren’t actively seeking work.

  • At least another 2.5 million who are unemployed but are not being counted as unemployed because of a technicality in the way the CPS survey nonresponse is classified.

Together, that equals 18.7 million workers who were out of work as a result of the pandemic in October. If all these workers were taken into account, the unemployment rate would have been 11.1%.

None of this includes underemployment.

People are returning to jobs with cut hours and cut pay or taking new jobs that pay less than their previous jobs.

This is a hard number to measure as there's not full data or reporting of these changes, but it includes at least 7 million workers who are employed but have seen a cut in hours as a result of the pandemic. That number doesn't necessarily include people who saw a cut in pay.

If we add these 7 million to the calculations, 25.7 million workers were still directly hurt by the COVID recession in October. That is more than 15% of the workforce. And that number doesn't include anyone who was harmed, but has found employment prior to October.

AND IT'S STILL LOW because underemployment and misclassified workers are difficult to calculate.

*Much of the content of the last two sections is pulled from this piece by EPI's Heidi Shierholz, summarized in this twitter thread.

Recovery continues to be in-equal...

In gender:

58% of the people who were dropped from the labor force were women.

In race.

The white unemployment rate is 6%, the Latinx unemployment rate is 8.8%, and the Black unemployment rate is 10.8%

And industries are being hit unequally:

Above charts by EPI here

It is conclusively clear that more federal relief is necessary, not only to bolster to the economy, but also to ensure the survival of millions of affected workers.

Pandemic UI programs are set to expire on Dec 26th. Millions of workers are depending on these programs. DOL reports 13.3 mil on PUA and 21.5 in all UI programs.

Those people will be plunged further into loss if no relief is passed before the end of the year. That relief must be robust and comprehensive.

Tell your electeds

Sources for this article:

Articles from the EPI by Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz as well as Heidi's twitter thread here.

For more great data and charts from EPI please check here.

For information from Groundworks Collaborative including a look at the GDP check here.

The full October BLS report is here.

UI data here.

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