New Jobs Added in October, But Unemployment Still High
November 14, 2013
The Labor Department’s jobs report released last week revealed some interesting data about the health of the economy and the industries represented by the IBEW.
October saw 204,000 new jobs added to the economy – approximately 50,000 more than last month. But at the same time, the Labor Department is reporting a slight increase in the unemployment rate – from 7.2 to 7.3 percent.
Officials chalk up this discrepancy up to the House Republican government shutdown, which furloughed thousands of federal workers for two weeks last month. Many of those furloughed workers were counted as unemployed during the shutdown.
Altogether, employers added an average of 202,000 jobs a month from August through October, with layoffs continuing a steadily decline.
More good news: the number of people applying for unemployment benefits finally fell below pre-recession levels.
Still, the jobs deficit remains deep, with the number of long-term employed holding steady at 4.1 million.
Manufacturing and construction added jobs: 19,000 and 11,000 respectively.
This is the second straight jobs report to show construction growth, driven by increased confidence in the residential sector and the booming economy in natural gas and oil, which is leading to a skilled construction worker shortage in the many parts of the country.
Vindy.comreports on the skilled-labor crunch in the shale-gas region of Eastern Ohio:
An aging workforce and the nation’s strong emphasis on a college degree for high-school graduates have left trade unions in the Mahoning Valley with the challenge of persuading the young to join their ranks to meet growing construction demands.
The squeeze on skilled labor comes at a time when Ohio’s construction industry is surging with projects related to shale-gas development. Pipelines to deliver oil and gas are being laid daily, hotels to house more workers are planned, processing plants need construction, and other major projects yet to be announced are on the horizon.
“We’re meeting demand. The problem is when you look ahead,” Jim Burgham, Youngstown Local 64 business manager told the Web site.
Even with this growth, construction unemployment is still at 9 percent, a small drop since last year.
Despite the bitter divides in Congress, pro-jobs legislation is starting to pick up bipartisan support, including a package of bills to boost domestic manufacturing.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is leading the effort in the Senate. Included is legislation to give startup manufacturers access to research and development tax credits. It is endorsed by eight senators, including four Republicans.
Read more about his Manufacturing Jobs for America initiativehere.