Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Employers only add 80,000 net jobs in October

Posted by: Dee DePass under Unemployment Updated: November 4, 2011 - 11:02 AM


The private sector grew while the government sector shrank netting a disappointing 80,000 new jobs for the month of October.

 Unemployment barely fell from 9.1 percent in September to 9 percent last month.

Most labor market economists had forecast more than 100,000 jobs and hoped the jobless rate would shimmy below the 9 percent mark. But it was not meant to be.

Government employment fell by 24,000, leaving private employers to pick up the slack. And they did, adding 104,000 new jobs for the month. It was not enough.

October's net gain of 80,000 jobs is not far off the 90,000 average of the last six months. But that is not enough to keep pace with the estimated 130,000 new workers who enter the labor force each month. And it is no where near the estimated 350,000 jobs needed each month to restore unemployment to pre recession levels.

"At this rate, the labor market will never start pulling the backlog of nearly 14 million unemployed workers back to work," said labor market economists from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

On the upside, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that private employers added jobs in manufacturing, mining, wholesale and retail trades, health care and leisure and hospitality. They shed jobs in construction, banking and telecommunications.

The government said the number of long term unemployed fell during the month, but noted that the civilian labor force participation rate held steady at 64.2 percent. 

The government also revised previous jobs report upward. August gained 104,000 jobs during the month, which is up from 57,000 jobs. September job gains rose from 103,000 to 158,000.

That good news failed to mollify many.

University of Maryland economics professor Peter Morici called the October report "disastrous" and said that job growth must pick up.

In addition to the 14 million Americans who are unemployed, another 12 million or so are either too discouraged to work or are forced to work part time jobs because they can't find full time work. Including those individuals, the nation's true unemployment rate is really 16.2,  Morici said, not the official 9.0 rate reported by the government.

In short, the nation needs a strong dose of aspirin, some antacid tablets and a whole lot of jobs.

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