The Real Unemployment Rate – November 2021

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The Real Unemployment Rate – November 2021

Bottom Line: Expectations were tempered heading into Friday’s jobs Report after two disappointing months of job growth. However last Wednesday’s ADP’s private sector jobs report provided a key tell that this one likely wouldn’t be. That’s because ADP’s report showed the strongest job growth since June with a near identical gain in jobs to what Friday’s government report showed. While much of the hiring story is holiday hiring by large companies, good news is good news and there was quite a bit of it within the government’s breakout. 

Starting with the headline numbers. 

  • Unemployment rate 4.6% (down .2%)
  • +531,000 jobs
  • Positive revisions from previous months totaling 235,000 jobs

That last number is where this report goes from decent to good. As it turns out, the government once again dramatically undercounted jobs added from previous months. In context it makes this report less surprising and once again shows that the ADP Report tends to be the more accurate of the two prior to revisions. 

The reported base rate and the real unemployment rate are two separate things... The real unemployment rate once underemployed, long-term unemployed and marginally attached people are accounted for looks like this:

  • Actual: 8.3% (down .2%)

The best news in the report showed up with the real rate as we did make real progress with those not accounted for by the base unemployment rate. There are currently 8.4 million people who are long-term unemployed, underemployed or marginally attached to the workforce which makes up the difference between the base rate and the real rate. That’s an improvement of 500,000 people over the previous month and is another key cog in this report. 

As for Demographics...

  • The unemployment rate improved about evenly for all demographics in October

As for Money...

  • The average hourly wage rose by 11 cents per hour during the month to $30.96
  • The average full-time income is currently $55,964, an increase of $138 over the prior month

The good news for those who are full-time employed is that wage inflation continued positively impacting the incomes of those full-time employed as we ended the month with record high average annual incomes yet again. That’s especially important given the 30+ year highs we’re seeing for inflation currently. There are still many challenges for would-be employees and employers alike, however the overall employment picture over the past month was the best in several months and a good way to head into an otherwise uncertain near-term outlook in which the Biden administration is attempting to force through the vaccine mandate for all employees who work for companies with 100 or more employees effective January 4th. 

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