On Friday the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly U.S. payrolls and jobs report. The reported number of jobs created in November was roughly half of what was forecasted in a Reuters poll of economists.

Besides the underwhelming number of created jobs, a Reuters post noted a few worrying takeaways from the report:

Household vs establishment data

The labor report is based on two surveys: one of the businesses (establishment data) and one of the households. The establishment data on total employment from businesses is less noisy than the household results. Most often the two agree with each other but in the November report, they did not. Businesses reported adding 245,000 jobs, but households reported employment decreases by 74,000.

Lagging labor force

Around 400,000 fewer people reported being a member of the work force in November. This is the third drop in the last five months. The labor force includes those who are employed and those in the market for a job. A sign of a healthy labor market is a consistently growing labor force. After an initial bounce back in May and June, the labor force has remained more than 4 million short of what it was before the pandemic struck.

More discouraged workers

One reason people are dropping out of the work force is that they are too discouraged by the state of the job market to look for work. The number of discouraged workers reached a five-year high in July and returned to those levels in November after 3 months of increases.

Permanent job losses rising

When the pandemic first struck it triggered more than 20 million job losses in April alone. These layoffs were expected to be temporary measures, but that mentality has changed. In November, more than 4.7 million people were categorized as permanently laid off. That is nearly 2 million more than those counted as being temporarily out of work and was the highest level in seven years.

Growing unemployment duration

In February fewer than 20% of the 5.8 million unemployed people had been out of work for longer than 26 weeks. This was just before the pandemic broadsided the economy and job market along with it. In November nearly 37% of the 10.7 million unemployed had not worked for roughly 6 months or longer. That percentage was the highest reported since December 2013.

You can read the full report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on their webpage.

Layoffs are something that can affect any business, especially during economic downturns. Learning and expanding new skills is a great method for those looking to increase their employability. It can also be a good way to take advantage of the opportunity to explore new careers. Lantern Institute offers professional programs for those interested in data science, finance, and software development.

This new bite is a condensed version of an article originally written by Reuters reporter Dan Burns.

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