The Labor Department reported December 4 that the U.S. unemployment rate fell slightly to 10.0 percent in November, as did the number of unemployed Americans, which now stands at 15.37 million. In October, the jobless rate was 10.2% and the number of unemployed stood at 15.70 million. On December 3, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment for the week ending November 28 was 457,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s figure of 462,000, while the more telling four-week moving average of new claims was 481,250, a decrease of 14,250 from the previous week’s four-week moving average of 495,500.
In the December 4th report, DOL said that employment in November fell in construction, manufacturing, and information, while temporary help services and healthcare added jobs.
The number of so-called involuntary part-time workers–people working part time for economic reasons–was essentially flat at 9.24 million compared to October’s 9.28 million.
Among industries, the highest unemployment rate was 19.4% for construction, while government workers’ jobless rate was 3.4%.
The jobs issue took center stage in Washington this week, with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifying in his confirmation hearing before the Senate on December 3 that “jobs are the issue right now.” In his prepared testimony, Bernanke said that “far too many Americans are without jobs, and unemployment could remain high for some time even if, as we anticipate, moderate economic growth continues.”
On the same day, President Obama called to order a “jobs summit” at the White House at which he promised to consider “every demonstrably good idea” for job creation, hinting that two areas that might particularly boost jobs were in infrastructure spending and weatherization and clean energy efficiency.