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December 05, 2008
Employers Shed More Than 500,000 Jobs

Payroll employment fell by 533,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.5 to 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

For a bigger one-month dip in payroll employment, you’d have to go back more than 30 years.

November's drop in payroll employment followed declines of 403,000 in September and 320,000 in October, as revised. Job losses were large and widespread across the major industry sectors in November.

In November, the number of individuals who worked part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) continued to increase, reaching 7.3 million. The number of such workers rose by 2.8 million over the past 12 months. This category includes persons who would like to work full time but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

About 1.9 million individuals were marginally attached to the labor force in November, 584,000 more than 12 months earlier. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 608,000 discouraged workers in November, up by 259,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work specifically because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.3 million individuals marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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