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The U3 unemployment rate dipped fractionally, from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent, with 13.9 million people unemployed by this measure, down from 14 million last month. It has hovered between 9.0 and 9.2 percent since April. The U6, a measure of unemployment that counts part-time workers who want full-time work and discouraged workers who have not looked for jobs recently enough to be counted in the U3 but would still like to work, fell from 16.5 percent to 16.2 percent. That includes 8.9 million people working part-time involuntarily who would prefer full-time work.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate declined for
blacks (15.1 percent) in October, while the rates for adult men (8.8 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (24.1 percent), whites (8.0 percent), and Hispanics (11.4 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
Long-term unemployment—those who have been without work for 27 weeks and over—was 5.9 million, a decrease of 366,000, and accounted for 42.4 percent of total unemployment.
The labor force participation rate held steady at 64.2 percent, while the employment-population ratio was "little changed," going from 58.2 percent to 58.4 percent.
Average hourly earnings for private sector nonfarm workers continued to be essentially stagnant, increasing by five cents or 0.2 percent, for a 12-month gain of 1.8 percent. Marketwatch notes that:
Stagnant wages are a major contributor to the slow rate of hiring since consumption accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. growth. When people have less to spend, business lack enough demand for their goods and services to hire more workers.
Public sector job losses, of course, are another major drag on the economy. Month after month we see the private sector adding some jobs—not enough, but some—but the total number of jobs added being cut by government layoffs and hiring freezes.