December 2013 – Making Sense of the Unemployment Numbers
First the good news – the unemployment rate for individuals with a college education or higher dropped to 3.3% vs 4.0% (Dec 2012).
And the labor participation rate for workers with some college education actually increased vs the general population.
Additionally many of the job gains in Dec 2013 went to Women. Over 75,000 of all jobs created during the month were for women.
However many of these positions were in retail and lower wage earning areas with the exception of 15,000 in professional services.
Now the bad news – fewer jobs were created than anticipated. No one really knows the exact reason for this and there are many theories including vacation/cold weather across the country/holidays etc
The overall unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% and although the number is good the number of jobs created – 74,000 – is well under the number needed to help the unemployed and underemployed get back to work.