Most of us were expecting the unemployment rate to increase from 8.6% last month to 8.8% this month, as discouraged workers returned to the labor force. Instead, last month’s rate was revised upward to 8.7%, and the current rate is 8.5%.
The average number of hours worked per week also increased, as well as average hourly earnings.
The U-6 rate, which includes those workers working part-time because they cannot find full-time work, dropped from 16% to 15.2%, which is a BIG drop. (This is a better measure of economic distress than the headline number of 8.5%.)
Over the last year, 280 thousand government workers have lost their job, which would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago.
Interestingly, the number of people quitting their job now exceeds the number of people laid-off, which suggests increased confidence among workers that they can find another job.
All-in-all, it was a good day for anybody named Barack and a not-so-good day for anybody named Mitt or Newt or Rick or . . .