Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

Fourth Quarter Off to a Good Start with Strong Job Gains, Falling Unemployment

The first major report on the health of the US economy for the fourth quarter of 2014 showed continued gains in the job market. Payroll jobs were up by more than 200,000 for the ninth month in a row. With upward revisions to August and September data, the twelve-month jobs gain was 2,646,000. Annual job gains are now running at their strongest level since the peak of the pre-recession boom. The gains were broadly based, with construction, manufacturing, services and government all adding workers.

A separate survey of households also showed strong gains, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.8 percent. A broader measure of unemployment, U-6, which takes into account involuntary part-time workers and discouraged workers, fell to 11.5 percent. Both figures were new lows for the recovery. The civilian labor force grew by 416,000.

Involuntary part-time workers, which the BLS refers to as “working part-time for economic reasons,” include two groups. Some hold jobs that would normally be full-time except that their employers have cut their hours due to slack demand. Others hold jobs that are part-time by design, but have taken them only because they are the only work they can find. In October, the number of workers in the first category increased but the number in the second category fell by enough to bring the total down. Taking the two categories together, the share of involuntary part-time workers in the labor force fell below 4.4 percent for the first time in six years.

Today’s employment report comes on the heels of last week’s advance estimate of GDP for the third quarter, which showed continuation of strong economic growth that began in the spring. It will be almost three months before the advance estimate of fourth quarter GDP is released, but today’s jobs numbers provide at least one reason to think the economy will continue to expand at a reasonably good pace in the final three months of 2014.

Follow this link to view or download a slideshow with additional charts from the latest jobs report


2 Responses to “Fourth Quarter Off to a Good Start with Strong Job Gains, Falling Unemployment”

rjsigmundNovember 8th, 2014 at 11:53 am

we now have the highest year to date job creation count since 1999, which should hold unless November & December nosedive

on a percentage of the workforce basis, 4 week MA of jobless claims are at an all-time low…