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By HaleStewart December 4, 2013 6:01 pm
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US Employment Situation Still Very Weak

Earlier today we learned that, according to ADP, employment increased 215,000 in October.  As this number has a high correlation with the BLS figures, it's easy to assume we'll see a strong number on Friday.  However, the overall condition of the US labor market is still incredibly weak.  Consider the following charts.

Above is a chart of total hires from the Jobs Opening and Labor Survey , or JOLTs.  The current level of hires -- five years after the end of a recession -- is near the lowest level of the preceding expansion.  And job growth in the early 00s was not very strong.

The chart above shows the number of people who are unemployed over 27 weeks (blue line, left scale) and their percentage of the total umemployed (red line, right scale).  Both of these numbers are still at very high levels by historical standards.  The problem with extended periods of unemployment is skills required to perform various jobs atrophy, usually to the point where a person won't be hired.

The above graph shows the total percentage of people who are unemployed, marginally attached and working part-time for economic reasons.  In more pedestrian terms, these are all people who are not being utilized to thier full potential.  And that percentage is still very high, especially for an economy that is five years into an expansion.

The above graphs use less popular employment measurements.  However, all the above graphs show that employers are still reluctant to hire, leading to high unemployment and overall poor labor utilization.



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