October 2017 Unemployment Update

The labor market continues slowly tightening

Continuing our ongoing coverage of the labor market, the October Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to show apparent tightening of the labor market. Both the headline U-3 unemployment and the U-6 “underemployment” rate dropped for the second month in a row, by 0.1% and 0.4% respectively.

 

January


September


October

9-Month

Change  

U-3 Unemployment Rate

4.8%

4.2%

4.1%

-0.7%

U-6 Unemployment Rate

9.4%

8.3%

7.9%

-1.5%

     

Civilian Noninstitutional Population*

254,082

255,562

255,776

+1,694

Civilian Labor Force

159,716

161,146

160,381

+665

Employed

152,081

154,345

153,861

+1,780

Unemployed

7,635

7,132

6,520

-1,115

Employment-Population Ratio

59.9%

60.4%

60.2%

+0.3%

Part-time for Economic Reasons

5,840

5,122

4,753

-1,087

Marginally Attached to Workforce

1,752

1,569

1,535

-217

  • Discouraged Workers

532

421

524

-8

     

* All numbers are in thousands, and are seasonally-adjusted

    

While there were a few noticeable dips and spikes, they’re mostly consistent with the variation we’ve been seeing all year, with the labor market continuing to get tighter with no noticeable effects on wages or inflation. This can mainly be attributed to 10 months of the Trump administration having yielded no significant changes to economic policy, which means there’s been nothing to disrupt the long-run trend of the economy towards expansion over the last several years. With Congress now debating tax policy, and other major legislation scheduled for the hectic pre-holiday session, that may change soon, particularly if the debates devolve into a government shutdown.

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