Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

October 2013 Unemployment

November 8, 2013

October 2013

Unemployment Rate:             7.3 percent

Unemployed Americans:     11.3 million

“Real” Unemployment

  • The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 13.8 percent for October 2013, an increase of 0.2 percentage points. This is the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers.
  • The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 21.8 million. These are people who are unemployed (11.3 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (2.4 million), or are working part time because they can’t find full time employment (8.1 million).
  • Of note, among the number of unemployed are 448,000 furloughed federal employees who reported being temporarily laid off.    

Labor Force Participation

  • The labor force participation rate is 62.8 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percent from last month – it is the lowest rate in 35 years. The civilian labor force was down 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 10.6 percent.
  • The share of American adults with jobs in August was 58.3 percent, 0.3 percent lower than last month. This is more than five percentage points below its pre-recession peak. Total employment fell by 735,000 last month, partially reflecting a decline in federal employment.

Labor force participation rate continues to fall

Labor force participation rate continues to fall

  • The number of long-term unemployed spiked to 45 percent in April 2010 and again in March 2011 -- and is currently 36.1 percent of the unemployed. 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 815,000 people in October categorized as discouraged workers, roughly the same from a year ago. 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 7.3 percent for October 2013, up 0.1 percent from September. It reported an increase of 204,000 nonfarm jobs. The last two months were revised for a combined increase of 60,000 jobs over what was previously reported. August employment figures were revised from 193,000 to 238,000 jobs created, and September figures were revised from 148,000 to 163,000 new jobs.
  • President Obama promised a “natural unemployment” rate of 5.0 percent by now.
  • 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 186,000 jobs per month.
  • While the Federal Reserve has said improved employment numbers 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 impact its decision. The Fed Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on December 17. 
  • Americans are beginning to sour on the market for quality jobs. According to an August 2013 Gallup survey, 21 percent of Americans believe that this is a good time to find a quality job, the most negative level this year and down from 25 percent in July. Prior to August, Americans’ optimism about the availability of quality jobs appeared to be improving. 
  • Employment increased in leisure and hospitality (+53,000), retail trade (+44,000), professional and technical services (+21,000), and manufacturing (+19,000). Government fell by 8,000 jobs, largely at the federal level (-12,000).

Weeks, Hours & Wages

  • The number of Americans searching for work for more than 27 weeks is 4.1 million.
  • The average hourly private nonfarm payroll rose by two cents to $24.10. Year-over-year hourly earnings have risen 52 cents, or 2.2 percent. 
  • The average work week for private nonfarm employees was 34.4 hours, down 0.1 from September.