Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release
Last Modified Date: November 06, 2009
Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Joint Economic Committee
UNITED STATES CONGRESS
Friday, November 6, 2009
Madam Chair and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and
unemployment data we released this morning.
In October, the unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent, the
highest rate since April 1983, and nonfarm payroll employment
declined by 190,000. Since the start of the recession, payroll
employment has fallen by 7.3 million.
Job losses have averaged 188,000 over the past 3 months.
The declines are much smaller and less widespread than they were
last fall and winter. Nevertheless, some industries are still
experiencing notable employment declines. In October,
construction lost 62,000 jobs, manufacturing 61,000, and retail
In construction, October job losses were concentrated among
nonresidential specialty trades and heavy construction. Earlier
in the recession, the residential components of construction
accounted for the majority of the job losses in the industry. In
manufacturing, there were notable job cuts in machinery,
nonmetallic minerals, computer products, and printing in October.
Retail job losses were concentrated in sporting goods and book
stores and in department stores. Earlier in the downturn, large
job losses were spread across a wider range of retail industries.
One of the few industries where employment continued to grow
during the recession has been health care, which added 29,000
jobs in October. Employment in temporary help services rose by
34,000 over the month, the first significant increase in that
industry since the start of the recession in December 2007.
Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory
workers in the private sector were up by 5 cents in October to
$18.72. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have
risen by 2.4 percent. From September 2008 to September 2009, the
Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers
(CPI-W) declined by 1.7 percent.
Turning to measures from the survey of households, the
unemployment rate increased from 9.8 to 10.2 percent over the
month. Since the recession began, the jobless rate has increased
by 5.3 percentage points, while the number of unemployed has more
than doubled to 15.7 million.
The number of long-term unemployed remained high. In
October, 5.6 million workers had been jobless for 27 weeks or
Among the employed, there were 9.3 million persons working
part time in October who would have preferred full-time work.
The number of such workers has doubled since the start of the
Among those outside the labor force--that is, persons
neither working nor looking for work--the number of discouraged
workers in October was 808,000, up from 484,000 a year earlier.
These individuals are not currently looking for work because they
believe no jobs are available for them.
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment fell by 190,000 in
October, and the unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent.
My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your