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November 2013 Unemployment

December 6, 2013

 November 2013

Unemployment Rate:             7.0 percent

Unemployed Americans:     10.9 million

“Real” Unemployment

  • The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 13.2 percent for November 2013, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points. This is the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers.
  • The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 20.7 million. These are people who are unemployed (10.9 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (2.1 million), or are working part time because they can’t find full time employment (7.7 million).

Labor Force Participation

  • The labor force participation rate is 63.0 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent from last month but still near the 35-year low. The civilian labor force rose by 455,000 in November after declining by 720,000 in October. 
  • If the labor force participation rate were the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.9 percent.
  • The share of American adults with jobs in November was 58.6 percent, 0.3 percent higher than in October. This is more than five percentage points below its pre-recession peak. 
  • The number of long-term unemployed is 37.3 percent of the unemployed -- an increase of 1.2 percent from last month. During the 1980s, when our country faced a similar recessionary period, the proportion of long-term unemployed never exceeded 27 percent. 
  • Concern has also been raised about the consistent number of Americans who are working part time for economic reasons. These people are working part time because their hours have been cut back or because they are unable to find a full-time position. This figure has averaged 8.0 million throughout 2013.
  • There were 762,000 people in November categorized as “discouraged workers.” Discouraged workers are those who are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. 


  • The Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 7.0 percent for November 2013, down 0.3 percent from October. An increase of 203,000 nonfarm jobs was reported. The last two months were revised for a combined increase of 8,000 jobs. September employment figures were revised up from 163,000 to 175,000 jobs created, and October figures were revised down from 204,000 to 200,000 new jobs.
  • President Obama promised a “natural unemployment” rate of 5.0 percent by now.
  • According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, small business owners increased employment last month by an average of 0.05 workers per firm -- half the figure in October and remaining historically low. 
  • Job growth continues to remain sluggish. In 2012, the economy added an average of 262,000 jobs a month. In 2013, the economy has added an average of 189,000 jobs per month.

Job Growth Is Steady but Insufficient
Change from previous month in thousands
Job Growth Is Steady but Insufficient

  • While the Federal Reserve has indicated improved employment data are central to its decision to begin to taper its $85 billion a month bond-buying stimulus, most analysts agree today’s report is unlikely to affect its decision. The Board of Governors is scheduled to meet next December 17-18. 
  • Employment increased in construction (+17,000), manufacturing (+27,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (+27,000). Financial activities lost 3,000 jobs last month. 

Weeks, Hours and Wages

  • The average hourly private nonfarm payroll rose by four cents to $24.15. Year-over-year hourly earnings have risen 48 cents, or 2.0 percent. 
  • The average work week for private nonfarm employees was 34.5 hours, up 0.1 from October.