Although job prospects are still grim for many Americans, we got a bit of good news Friday: Unemployment is at its lowest rate since November of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And since then, women have been hired more often than men, with female employment rising by 262,000. Job growth for men, however, has been nearly negligible, and male-dominated industries like manufacturing and construction have suffered deep losses since the recession. Good news: the most recent job report notes that every single sector of the economy, including construction and manufacturing, have seen positive numbers.
The jobless rate of November 2013 stands at seven percent, down from 7.3 percent in October. In a month, America added roughly 203,000 jobs, a big rise from just 89,000 jobs generated during July. And more than 2 million jobs were added in the past year alone.
But are many of these recent hires down to to seasonal, part-time retail positions for the holidays? Well, we've reported that women vastly out-earn men in part-time positions — but these recent surge seems to be different. The number of people working part-time for economic reasons actually declined by 4 percent from October to November, and has decreased by nearly 5 percent in the past year.
The next step seems to be the easing of the Federal Reserve's stimulus program, soon to be led by Janet Yellen. The Fed buys $85 billion a month to "push down borrowing costs and spur growth." Policy makers plan to meet Dec. 17 — and this has some investors nervous, which caused stocks to take a tumble. However, many agree the Fed will wait until at least 2014 to make any changes.
But it isn't all good news: youth job growth continues to look bleak. Employment among 16-to-24-year olds declined nearly 3 percent in five years, while employment of people 55 and older increased by a massive 17 percent. This brings up some interesting questions — without easy answers. Are parents continuing to support their kids for longer periods of time? What are the future ramifications of a young job force that has never held entry-level jobs?
One thing's for sure: President Obama must be breathing a sigh of relief at Friday's report, after yet another week of Healthcare.gov humiliation.