Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 8 Nov 13

Non-farm payrolls increased by 204,000 in October, while the unemployment rate rose to 7.3%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1%, while the average workweek declined to 34.4 hours. These headlines hide a lot. 720,000 people left the labor force, bringing the labor force participation rate down to 62.8%, the lowest since March, 1978. Meanwhile, an additional 17,000 people were counted as unemployed, while an additional 735,000 dropped out of the ranks of the employed. Overall, the total number of persons not in the labor force increased by 932,000. As a result, using the historical average labor force participation rate, the real unemployment rate rose from 11.45% to 11.98%, the highest in two years. Much of this oddness probably comes from skewing from the government shutdown.

Personal income rose 0.5% in September, while personal spending rose 0.2%. The PCE Price Index rose 0.1% both at the headline and core level. On a year-over-year basis, prices are up 0.9% overall, and 1.2% at the core level, i.e., ex-food and -gas.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.2 points to 72.0 in the early November reading.

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