165,000 jobs were reportedly added in April, but revisions added 64,000 to February and 50,000 to March (for a remarkable total of 332,000 in February). Unemployment edged down 0.1 to 7.5%; the employment to population rate edged up 0.1 to 58.6%. The percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs has been volatile recently, in April it increased by 1.2 to 54.8%. The median duration of unemployment resumed its downward trajectory, dropping by 0.6 to 17.5 weeks. Weekly hours dropped 0.2 to 34.4 hours--many of the new jobs appear to be part-time, causing underemployment to increase 0.1 to 13.9%. Hourly earnings increased a healthy 0.2%, however. --BLS
Statement From DSCC Chair Senator Michael Bennet On Montana Senate Race
Senator Michael Bennet, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following statement this morning on Senator Max Baucus’s announcement and the Montana US Senate race:
“As Montana's Senior Senator and Chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus has shaped and guided legislation and policy affecting every American, and his service has been a benefit to all Montanans. He has been an invaluable leader in our caucus, and he will be sorely missed. Democrats have had a great deal of electoral success in Montana over the last decade, and I am confident that will continue. Democrats built an unprecedented ground game in Montana in 2012 when Senator Tester was reelected, and we will continue to invest all the resources necessary to hold this seat.”
A very disappointing 88,000 jobs were added in March, but revisions added 29,000 to January and 32,000 to February (for an eye-popping total of 268,000 in February). A decline in the participation rate brought unemployment down to 7.6%, because of a decline in the participation rate; the employment to population rate edged down 0.1 to 58.5%. The percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs has been volatile recently, in March it decreased by 0.3 to 53.3%. The median duration of unemployment increased by 0.3 to 18.1 weeks. Underemployment dropped 0.5 to 13.8%. Weekly hours edged up 0.1 to 34.6 hours, and hourly earnings edge up one penny. --BLS
236,000 jobs were added in February, with revisions adding 23,000 to December and subtracting 38,000 from February. Unemployment dropped to 7.7%. The employment to population rate stayed steady at 58.6%. The percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs again rose, increasing by 0.5 to 53.9%. The median duration of unemployment bounced back up by 1.8 to 17.8 weeks. Underemployment dropped 0.1 to 14.3%. Weekly hours edged up 0.1 to 34.5 hours, and hourly earnings increased 0.2%. --BLS
Republican Scott Brown announces he won't run to fill Senator Kerry's seat in Massachusetts.
Former Massachusetts Republican senator Scott Brown announced Friday that he will not run in the special election for outgoing Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s seat. Brown’s decision means Kerry’s seat is likely to remain in Democratic hands.
“…I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time,” Brown said in a statement. “And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.
“That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election.” - WaPo
157,000 jobs were added in December, but November was revised from a gain of 161,000 to 247,000, and December from 155,000 to 196,000. Unemployment ticked up 0.1 to 7.9%. The employment to population rate stayed steady at 58.6%. The percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs interrupted its march downward, bouncing up by 1.2 to 53.4%. The median duration of unemployment plummeted 2.0 to 16.0 weeks, its lowest value since 2009. Underemployment was flat at 14.4%. Weekly hours were flat at a downwardly revised 34.4 hours, and hourly earnings increased 0.2%. --BLS
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world's richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.
The 75-year-old Democrat's decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire. - HuffPo
155,000 jobs were added in December, with revisions adding 14,000 jobs to the previous two months. A revision raised the November unemployment rate to 7.8%, and it stayed at that level in December. The employment to population rate drifted down 0.1 to 58.6%. The best news was inside the numbers: the percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs (rather than quitting or joining the labor force) continued its march downward, dropping by 1.3 to 52.2%, its lowest value since before the financial crisis of fall 2008. The median duration of unemployment dropped 0.9 to 18.0 weeks, its lowest value since 2009. Underemployment was flat at 14.4%. Weekly hours were up 0.1 to 34.5 hours, and hourly earnings increased 0.3%. --BLS
Supreme Court to hear Prop 8 Case and One DOMA Case
The Supreme Court has just issued an order from this morning's conference agreeing to hear the Prop 8 case on the merits. The issues to be considered are whether Prop 8 violates the 14th Amendment and whether petitioners (the supporters of Prop 8) have standing.
They also issued an order taking one of the cases on the validity of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. As part of this case, they will also consider two preliminary issues: 1) do members of Congress have standing to defend the validity of DOMA; 2) does the fact that the Administration is not challenging the ruling by the Second Circuit preclude the Supreme Court from reaching the merits.
Despite Sandy, Early Thanksgiving, & the Election, Jobs Report is Steady As She Goes
There were a number of potential complications to this month's job reports: Superstorm Sandy, an unusually early Thanksgiving, and a Presidential election (think poll workers). Nevertheless, the report is consistent with recent trends:
146,000 jobs were added in November, but downward revisions subtracted 50,000 jobs from the previous two months. The headline unemployment rate dropped 0.2 to 7.7%, but the employment to population ratio ticked down 0.1 to 58.7%. In a trend that has been encouraging, the percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs (rather than quitting or joining the labor force) continued to drop by 0.4 to 53.6%. The median duration of unemployment, which has been volatile, dropped 0.6 to 19.0 weeks. Underemployment dropped 0.2 to 14.4%. Weekly hours were flat, but hourly earnings increased 0.2%. --BLS
Court to Consider Taking Marriage Equality Cases
The Supreme Court's weekly conference on November 30 includes consideration of ten separate applications to review cases involving marriage equality. The Court may announce late in the afternoon which cases it has decided to review. If any cases are accepted, a more detailed post will follow.
In another strong jobs report, 171,000 jobs were added in October, and upward revisions added 84,000 additional jobs to the previous two months. The headline unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 to 7.9%, but the employment to population reation also ticked up 0.1 to 58.8%, indicating that the increase in the unemployment rate is primarily due to more people in the labor force. The percentage of the unemployed who got there by losing jobs (rather than quitting or joining the labor force) continued to drop 0.3 to 54.0%. Underemployment dropped 0.1 to 14.6%, due to a sharp drop in the number of people working part-time for economic reasons. Weekly hours and hourly earnings were nearly flat, however. --BLS
The Gallup Daily survey confirms the drop in the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reaching a multi-year low (not seasonably adjusted) of 7.7%. This compares to an unadjusted rate of 7.6% from the BLS, identical to Gallup to within the statistical margin of error. If there's a conspiracy, it would have to involve Gallup as well!