November 2023 Jobs Report Recap
Posted by Cathleen Urdi on Thu, Nov 09, 2023 @ 04:00 PM


The labor market added 150,000 jobs in October, below the 170,000 estimate and well below the 12-month average of 258,000 jobs added. In addition, the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%. It is still historically low but the highest since January 2022. The market is still showing solid jobs growth, but the October report clarifies that the market is cooling.

The Numbers*:

  • The U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs.
    • Job additions fell 20,000 short of the Dow Jones estimate of +170,000.
    • The gain was just over half of the previous month’s 297,000 jobs, showing a sharp decline.
  • The unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%, with 6.5 M unemployed people.  
    • Since the low in April, the unemployment rate is up by 0.5%, 849,000 people.
    • Unemployment rates among major worker groups saw slight changes:
      • Adult men (3.7%), adult women (3.3%), and teenagers (13.2%).
      • Whites (3.5%), Blacks (5.8%), Asians (3.1%), and Hispanics (4.8%).
    • Long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) remained steady at 1.3M accounting for 19.8% of the unemployed population.
  • Average hourly earnings for all employees again rose 0.2% or 7 cents to $34.00, which was less than was forecast.
    • The average for private-sector production and non-supervisory employees rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $29.19.
    • Hourly earnings have increased by 4.1% over the last 12 months.
  • The number of job openings changed little, remaining at 9.6M.
    • Job openings increased in the industries of accommodation and food services (+141,000) and arts, entertainment and recreation (+39,000).
    • Job openings decreased in other services (-124,000), the federal government (-43,000), and information (-41,000).
  • The number of hires and total separations changed slightly at 5.9M (3.7% for the third month in a row). Total separations change little at 5.5M (3.5%).
    • There was little change within the separations, quits (3.7M) and layoffs and discharges (1.5M).
  • The labor force participation rate declined slightly to 62.7%.
    • Discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons slightly increased to 7.2% (+0.2%).
  • Average weekly hours worked ticked down from 34.4 in September to 34.3.
    • The number of jobs added in September was revised down by 39,000 to +297,000 and August job gains were revised down by 62,000 to +165,000.

Industry Trends:

  • Health care had the most significant increase, adding 58,000 jobs in October, slightly exceeding the 53,000 average over the last 12 months.
    • Ambulatory care continued to trend up (+32,000), with hospitals (+18,000) and nursing and residential care facilities (+8,000) also having solid gains.
  • Government added 51,000 jobs in October and has now returned to its pre-pandemic, February 2020 level.
  • Construction continued to trend up, adding 23,000 jobs, above the 12-month average of 18,000.
  • Social assistance added 19,000 jobs, most in individual and family services.
  • Manufacturing decreased by 35,000 in October, primarily due to strikes.
    • -33,000 losses were in motor vehicles and parts, demonstrating the impact of the strikes.
    • The weakness will reverse next month with the UAW strike ending.
  • Transportation and warehousing continued to lose jobs at a consistent rate (-12,000 jobs in October). There’s been little net change over the last year.
    • Most losses were in storage and warehousing (-11,000); transportation gained 4,000 in October.
  • Motion picture and sound recording employment lost 5,000 jobs, continuing to trend down.
    • The industry has lost 44,000 jobs since May, because of strike activity.
  • Information-related industries lost 9,000 more jobs.

Interesting Facts:

The stock market reacted favorably to the cooling labor market, and performance below expectations combined with downward revisions and slightly higher unemployment showed that further tightening is unlikely. Considering less-than-expected wage growth and although inflation is running above the 2% target (currently 3.7%), it’s doubtful that the Feds will raise interest rates in December. It would be the third meeting with no rate hike.

College enrollment continues to decline, making it even more important to determine if an open position truly requires a degree. Fewer high school students are enrolling in college after graduation, continuing a 10-year trend with a strong post-pandemic increase. Older students’ (24+ years of age) enrollment is also in decline.

The reasons are thought to be threefold:

  • Rapidly increasing college tuition, fees and associated costs (room and board).
  • Students who have had trouble re-engaging with school post-pandemic.
  • Students who started working during the pandemic continue working rather than returning to college.
It’s not yet clear if lower enrollment will mean fewer degrees awarded or if the students not enrolling are the population that was accumulating debt but not graduating.
Tuition and fee increases over the last 20 years, adjusted for inflation:
  • Tuition and fees at private National Universities have increased about 40%.
  • Out-of-state tuition and fees at public National Universities have risen about 38%.
  • In-state tuition and fees at public National Universities have grown about 56%.
Ivy League schools are up almost 160%, some coming in at nearly $90K per year, substantially above the U.S. median household income of $74,580. Some communities are beginning to respond by creating more trade schools and alternate paths.

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* Above represents October 2023 Data


Topics: Labor Market

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