The real unemployment rate – November 2020

The real unemployment rate – November 2020

Bottom Line: October delivered a sixth consecutive month of huge job gains. It continues the trend we've seen as lockdowns have eased during the pandemic. 2020 has demonstrated that if we give businesses room to breathe, they’ll make the most of the opportunity. Perseverance continues to prevail. While there are more questions than answers regarding economic and pandemic policy going forward after the elections – it's hard to know where we go from here. We have had the virus become a significant headwind again as all states are dealing with a surge in cases, with many counties, including the US having the most yet right now. The lockdowns in parts of Europe certainly aren’t good for their economy or anyone else’s. How will states respond through the fall and winter? Additionally, what will stimulus in congress look like after the elections? While that remains to be’s what happened with jobs most recently.

First, the headline numbers from the jobs report:

  • Unemployment rate 6.9% (Improvement of 1%)
  • +638,000 jobs
  • Positive revisions from previous months totaling 15,000 jobs

Industries for biggest jobs recoveries:

  • #1 Leisure and hospitality
  • #2 Retail
  • #3 Professional and business services

As was evidenced in the ADP private sector jobs report, there was across the board growth including strong gains led by the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics undercounted previous month’s jobs numbers by 15,000 jobs. Add them into the mix and your net number is 663,000 jobs added during the month.

Now for the real unemployment rate once underemployed, long-term unemployed and marginally attached people are accounted for:

  • Actual: 12.1%, an improvement of 0.7% over August

Key takeaways:

  • The size and breadth of job gains was excellent
  • There’s continued room for optimism and the possibility of a rapid recovery for much of the economy pending political outcomes/pandemic policies
  • The real unemployment rate and base rate continue to meaningfully improve simultaneously which illustrates the progress isn’t due to the expiration of unemployment benefits but rather people really going back to work.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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