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How Taking a Temporary Job Affects Unemployment Benefits
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
How a Temporary Job Impacts Unemployment Benefits
Reduction or elimination of benefits, how to report your earnings, eligibility for unemployment benefits after temporary work, unemployment eligibility for seasonal workers, unemployment eligibility for independent contractors, temporary work and total unemployment benefits, quitting a temporary job, accepting suitable employment, frequently asked questions (faqs).
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Being a temporary worker is a way to earn extra money when you're out of work and short on cash. Temporary roles can also be an opportunity to test out a new career field or job when the applicant may not have enough experience for a full-time position.
Temporary work can be an excellent way for unemployed individuals to make a positive impression upon an employer and consequently, be hired for a more permanent job in the future. However, many unemployed workers are financially strapped and fear the loss of their unemployment benefits if they take on temporary or contract positions.
Here's information on how temporary jobs impact unemployment benefits, how unemployment compensation is affected, and reporting requirements.
- State policies on how earnings are handled when you're receiving unemployment vary, so check with your state unemployment department for guidelines.
- Earned income should be reported when you file your weekly claim, even if you haven't been paid yet.
- In general, the amount you earn will be deducted from your unemployment compensation.
What happens if you accept a temporary job while receiving unemployment benefits? States have different policies on how temporary employment is handled. So, you should contact your state unemployment office for a definitive answer on the impact on your benefits.
In general, your unemployment benefits will typically be reduced or eliminated during the period of your temporary work, depending on the level of pay for your temporary job. Usually, you will still be entitled to the difference between your pay and the value of your unemployment benefits, if you earn less than the total amount of your unemployment benefits.
For example, if you earn $200 and are entitled to $400 in unemployment benefits, you will typically still receive $200 in unemployment compensation. However, if you earn $400 or more in that temporary job, then your benefits would be suspended.
When the temporary job ends, you should be able to either continue your existing unemployment claim, or open a new claim depending on your eligibility. If your benefit period has expired, you will need to reapply for unemployment.
Your benefits will generally be based on the preceding period of temporary work. State employment laws vary, so temporary employees may still qualify for unemployment benefits once the temporary job has been completed.
The income that you earn while on unemployment benefits is reported when you file your weekly claim. The form will ask if you have worked during the week you're filing for, and there will be a section to list how much you earned.
Reporting requirements vary by state. For example, in Georgia, you must report your gross wages for each week you work and claim unemployment benefits, even if you have not been paid for the work yet. This includes part-time or temporary work.
In Maine, you'll be asked if you performed any services for an employer, had earnings from odd jobs or self-employment, or received bonus or severance pay.
If you don't report your earnings, you can be required to repay the unemployment compensation you received, or could even be charged with fraud.
Eligibility for unemployment benefits is based on several factors, such as the duration of the employment, the wages earned, and the reason for the unemployment and/or reduced hours.
As long as you are unemployed due to no fault of your own and you are actively seeking work, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Job seekers must typically accept any suitable employment, so turning down an opportunity can disqualify them from claiming benefits.
Similar to temporary workers, seasonal workers are employed for short, specific times of the year due to weather-related or tourist-related industries. In some states, seasonal workers may not meet the criteria to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Independent contractors typically cannot claim unemployment benefits like temporary and full-time workers can. However, expanded unemployment benefits were available to self-employed workers, gig workers, and independent contractors during the pandemic.
The amount of compensation you can receive through unemployment benefits is typically calculated based on your wages during a 12-15 month period leading up to your first day of unemployment. This time frame is considered the “base period.” It is advantageous to maintain employment regularly during this period, as it lowers the total amount, which lessens your eligible compensation rate.
Check the details of how to handle it with your state unemployment office.
If you quit a temporary job without a just cause, you will generally not be eligible to resume benefits. If you complete the term of your temporary work, you will often be able to resume unemployment benefits as long as your benefit period hasn't expired.
Some states have suitable work requirements, which require unemployed workers to accept a position that is considered suitable . However, what is considered suitable employment varies from state to state. So, check with your state unemployment office before turning down a job offer, even if it's for a temporary or contract job, rather than a permanent position.
In general, suitable work is determined by compensation, working conditions, health and ability, required skills, and commuting distance. In some states, union workers registered with local hiring halls are considered exempt from these suitable work requirements.
Can you collect unemployment while working at a temporary job?
You may still be able to collect unemployment when you're working at a temporary job. It depends on how much you earn and the guidelines for unemployment eligibility in your state. In general, you may be able to collect partial unemployment benefits if you earn under a certain amount of income in the week for which you're claiming benefits.
Do you have to report income from gig jobs when you file for unemployment?
All earned income, whether it's from a temporary job, part-time job, self-employment, freelancing, or gig work, should be reported to unemployment when you file your weekly claim.
Georgia Department of Labor. " Unemployment Fraud Information ."
State of Maine Department of Labor. " Instructions for Claimants ."
U.S. Department of Labor. " How Do I File for Unemployment Insurance ?"
SHRM. " If a Company Hires Temporary or Seasonal Employees, Will These Employees Still Be Eligible for Unemployment When Their Assignment Ends ?"
U.S. Department of Labor. " Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak ."
NOLO. " Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work ?"
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The economy added 150,000 jobs in October as hiring slowed, report shows
Hiring slowed sharply in October as employers added 150,000 jobs, signaling that high interest rates and inflation may be taking a widening toll on payroll growth.
The auto workers strike also dampened employment gains last month as manufacturing lost 35,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate rose from 3.8% to 3.9%, the Labor Department said Friday, the highest level since January 2022.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 180,000 jobs were added last month.
Another possible sign of a weakening labor market: Job gains for August and September were revised down by a combined 101,000, depicting a less robust picture of hiring in late summer than previously thought.
Are US wages increasing?
Average hourly earnings rose 7 cents to $34, nudging down the yearly increase to 4.1% from 4.2%. That should be welcomed by a Federal Reserve seeking to tamp down pay increases that are feeding into inflation. Fed officials would like to see wage growth ease to 3.5% to align with their 2% overall inflation goal. Wage growth topped 5% last year amid severe COVID-related labor shortages.
How is the Dow reacting?
Investors cheered the report on the hope that milder pay increases and a cooling job market would allow the Fed to continue to hold its key interest rate steady after hiking it aggressively from March 2022 to July 2023.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 222.24 points, or 0.7%, to end at 34,061 on Friday while the S&P 500 index jumped 0.9% to finish at 4,358.
“The overall weakening in employment demand and wage growth supports our view that the Fed is done raising rates for this cycle," Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist of Nationwide, wrote in a note to clients. "Moreover, it supports our forecast for a mild recession to unfold in the first half of 2024.”
10-year Treasury yield
The 10-year Treasury yield, which topped 5% recently as inflation worries intensified, fell 11 percentage points to end at 4.56%.
Which industries need workers the most?
Besides the strike-related job losses in manufacturing, hiring was subdued across a broad range of industries, with the private sector adding just 99,000 jobs. Health care led the payroll gains with 58,000. Construction added 23,000; leisure and hospitality, 19,000; and professional and business services, 15,000.
Transportation and warehousing, information and financial activities all shed jobs,
Total job gains were pushed up to a more solid figure by 51,000 gains in federal, state and local governments, whose tallies are often volatile and don’t necessarily reflect the health of the economy.
What is the labor force participation rate?
The share of Americans working or looking for jobs dipped to 62.7% after reaching 62.8% in August and September, the highest since early 2020, before the pandemic began.
This year, Americans sidelined by COVID health concerns or child care duties have streamed back into a favorable job market, joining a surge in immigrants. The larger pool of workers has helped tamp down wage growth since employers don't need to boost starting pay as sharply to attracxt job candidates. But October’s decline in participation raises questions about whether that trend has peaked as baby boomers continue to retire droves.
Is the US job market slowing down?
The job market was expected to be impacted by several one-time factors in October. The United Auto Workers strike was set to reduce employment by about 30,000 workers, Goldman Sachs said before the report was released. Yet the tentative resolution of the walkout should mean a similar bump in employment for November, the research firm said.
And the deal reached in the Hollywood writers’ strike could have translated into an October rise in employment in the movie and TV industry, says Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG.
Meanwhile, lingering COVID-related labor shortages probably spurred industries such as retail to pull forward holiday hiring, Goldman says. Yet that could mean less hiring this month.
All told, such episodes reveal little about the underlying health of the job market.
Through the first eight months of the year, job gains slowed to a still solid average pace of about 200,000 a month this year, half of last year’s clip, now that the millions of jobs lost in the pandemic have been recovered.
But the economy and labor market have proved remarkably resilient lately. More than 300,000 jobs were added in September and the economy grew at a sizzling 4.9% annual rate in the third quarter on strong consumer spending.
Although the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes and inflation have had some impact, the worker shortages have made employers reluctant to lay off staffers and kept average yearly wage growth above 4%, fueling consumption.
Forecasters expect economic activity, job gains and pay increases to slow more dramatically next year as higher borrowing costs further squeeze households and businesses, and more Americans deplete their pandemic-related savings. Nearly half of economists are still predicting a mild recession within the next 12 months.
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How to Qualify for Unemployment Having Worked a Temporary Job
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Can You Draw Unemployment if You Are Not Living in the State Where You Were Laid Off?
Do unemployment benefits start over each year, can i file for unemployment for being laid off from a second job.
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Whether you were hired as a temporary employee or as a permanent employee doesn't affect your right to unemployment compensation. The same qualifications for unemployment compensation apply equally to both conditions. Other factors related to temporary employment, however, may make a difference between being eligible for unemployment compensation or not. Either way, determining whether you qualify can be complicated.
Temporary or Permanent: Does It Matter?
Here are two different employment situations:
- You're hired by XYZ corporation to fill in during the Christmas rush. Things go well for you at the company, and it keeps you on for a few weeks into January to help handle returns, but by the end of January, you are let go. You've worked a total of 11 weeks.
- You're hired by ABC corporation to be an assistant manager. The position is permanent. Nevertheless, the economy slumps and ABC lays off its recent hires. You've worked a total of 11 weeks.
In these two situations, whether you qualify for unemployment compensation depends upon several factors – none of them having to do with whether you were hired as a permanent employee or a temp. The length of time you worked does bear on your eligibility, but it's only one of several factors. In some circumstances, if you're unemployed after 11 weeks, you're eligible for unemployment compensation. In other circumstances, you aren't. Eligibility depends on several factors that include the state you work in, your work history over a base period, how much you earned during that base period, and why you're no longer employed.
General Rules That Do and Don't Apply
It is useful to know the general rules for eligibility, but each state has so many unique requirements that making useful generalizations is difficult. At some point, to understand whether or not you're eligible, you'll need to read the eligibility rules for the state you work in. However, it helps to know the basic relevant considerations. The most important of them is the concept of a base year.
The Base Year
Every state requires that to be eligible for unemployment you have to have worked a minimum length of time in the base year. The base year is the employment year that qualifies you for unemployment. You can figure out your base year by picking up a calendar and counting backward five complete quarters from the day you became unemployed. Let's say you're unemployed on September 15, 2017, in the middle of the third quarter that runs from July 1 through September. Since you're counting complete quarters only, you ignore the third quarter and begin counting back for five quarters, beginning with the second quarter of 2017_._ Five quarters takes you back to the first quarter of 2016. That's where your base year begins. Now you count forward four quarters. Your base year ends on the last day of the fourth quarter of 2016.
Every subsequent qualification for unemployment compensation has to do with the base year: how much you earned and how long you worked during the base year and some additional twists and turns that apply in some states and not in others.
How Much of the Time Were You Employed in the Base Year?
Most states – but not all – base eligibility on the number of quarters you were employed in the base year. Texas, which is typical in this regard, requires that you worked in at least two quarters of the base year. Most states that determine eligibility by length of time worked have the same two-quarter requirement. However, not all states base eligibility on the length of time worked in the base year and among those that do, the majority impose other requirements as well. Washington State, for example, requires that you have worked a total of 680 hours during the base year; which quarter or quarters you worked them in doesn't matter.
How Much Did You Earn in the Base Year?
Here's where it starts to get complicated. Washington State requires that in your highest earning quarter of the base year, you earned at least $1,300 or alternatively that in your highest earning quarter you earned at least $900 and that your total earnings for the year were at least 1.25 times your highest quarter earnings.
In Texas, your earnings during the base year must be at least 37 times your weekly benefit. That benefit, in turn, is the total you earned in your highest earnings quarter divided by 25. Each state has its own rules. To find the specific requirements for your state, do an internet search for "[Your State] unemployment compensation qualifications" or "[Your State] unemployment insurance benefits." One or both of these queries will get you the info you need.
Other qualifications are relatively straightforward. If you voluntarily quit your job, you're ineligible for benefits unless you can show you quit for "good cause." For example, if you were sexually harassed by a supervisor, most states would consider that good cause. Even so, since good cause is defined differently in each state, the only way to know for sure is to read your state's unemployment regulations.
If you were fired arbitrarily because your supervisor didn't like you, you're probably eligible. If you were guilty of minor misconduct that another employee who was not fired was also guilty of, you may or may not be eligible for benefits. Eligibility in situations like this may eventually be determined in an Unemployment Compensation Board hearing where you and your former employer must appear and testify.
If you were fired for gross misconduct, you're probably not eligible. If you were fired for negligence, whether you're eligible for benefits will depend upon whether the negligence was deliberate. "Deliberate" in this context is a legal term and is another area where the final determination of your eligibility may be determined in an Unemployment Compensation Board hearing.
- National Employment Law Project: Temp Work and Employment Insurance
- Beacon Hill Staffing: How to File for Unemployment
- Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Frequently Asked Questions
- Employment Security Department of Washington State: Calculate Your Benefit
- SHRM: Unemployment Compensation
- NOLO: Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Texas
- NOLO: Unemployment Benefits: What If You Quit?
I am a retired Registered Investment Advisor with 12 years experience as head of an investment management firm. I also have a Ph.D. in English and have written more than 4,000 articles for regional and national publications.
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Sharp U.S. Hiring Slowdown Signals Cooling Economy Ahead
Jobs report shows employers added fewest jobs since june, while the unemployment rate rose.
Updated Nov. 3, 2023 5:03 pm ET
Job growth slowed sharply last month, a sign the U.S. economy is cooling this fall after a torrid summer.
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Unemployment insurance pays you money if you lose your job through no fault of your own. Learn how to apply and where to find eligibility rules.
There is not a federal unemployment program. Each state manages its own unemployment insurance program and pays benefits.
How to apply for unemployment benefits
Select your state on this map to learn how to file for unemployment .
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- Earned at least a certain amount within the last 12-24 months
- Worked consistently for the last 12-24 months
- Look for a new job
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Job growth slowed in October as the economy settled into a new normal
- The unemployment rate increased to 3.9% in October.
- The labor market added 150,000 jobs in October after 297,000 jobs added in September.
- Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted earlier this week that "the labor market remains tight."
The US economy added 150,000 jobs in October, based on nonfarm payroll employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS.
That's less than September's revised job growth of 297,000. The previous estimate for September was 336,000 nonfarm payrolls added. August's growth was also revised from 227,000 to 165,000, per Friday's news release from BLS.
"Over a year ago, President Biden said that once we transitioned from what were then the extremely high monthly jobs numbers — it was like 500,000 at the time — to something closer to 150,000, it would be a sign that we were moving into the next phase of recovery," acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su told Insider. "And that's exactly what this number is. This report shows the resilience of that initial recovery at a sustainable rate."
October's increase was below the forecast of 180,000.
"On the surface it was a weak headline payroll number, but most economists and markets are willing to look past that 150,000 number," Aaron Terrazas, chief economist at Glassdoor, told Insider. "It was exactly in line with the expectations."
After two straight months of an unemployment rate at 3.8%, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%. That's just above the forecast of 3.8%.
Wage growth slowed. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% from September to October, following month-over-month increases of 0.3%. Average hourly earnings increased by 4.1% from October last year to October this year, following year-over-year increases of around 4.3% in recent months. These earnings stood at $34.00 in October.
The labor force participation rate was 62.7% in October, similar to the 62.8% seen previously. The employment-population ratio was 60.2%, just below the 60.4% seen during the past few months.
Compared to other major industries that saw a one-month employment decline in October, manufacturing saw the largest drop. Employment in this industry fell by 35,000. Employment in motor vehicles and parts saw a drop of around 33,000, which can partly be attributed to strike activity per the news release from BLS.
Some of the industries that saw job growth from September to October included healthcare, construction, and leisure and hospitality.
Nick Bunker, economic research director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab, told Insider after the release of the jobs report that the headline nonfarm payroll growth was "quite strong" and solid given the "current level of unemployment and the aging of the population."
"When you add back in the workers who were on strike and the effects there, that's still very robust job gains," Bunker said.
Bunker added that things are "still settling down a little bit" like wage growth for instance.
"The household survey did have some troubling signs," Bunker said, noting the uptick in the unemployment rate "which is the highest we've seen since the beginning of 2022."
"Maybe some of that is strike effect with some workers who might've been on temporary layoff, but it's hard to tell," Bunker said.
Job openings data released earlier this week by BLS showed there were 9.6 million job openings in September, about the same as August. There were also about 3.7 million quits in September and August.
Bunker said in commentary about the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report earlier this week that while it was "a bit boring," it was boring "in the best possible way."
Bunker noted elevated job openings, "both quitting and hiring have plateaued at healthy levels similar to what we saw before the pandemic," and the low layoff rate, which was 1.0% in September.
"The labor market has cooled off from its 2021 highs, but demand for workers is no longer dropping off," Bunker said. "But with labor supply still growing, this continued high level of demand won't necessarily push up inflation and draw the Federal Reserve's ire."
The Fed decided this week to hold rates steady with a pause in interest rate hikes. Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted in a press conference on Wednesday that economic data is showing resilience in the economy.
"I think it is still a story of how strong the jobs market has held up, despite all of these headwinds," Terrazas said. "I don't think it's going to ease any fears that this is just going to mean more upward pressure on interest rates."
Consumer Price Index data showed inflation was up 3.7% in September from a year ago, the same percent increase as in August. Gross domestic product also rose at an annualized rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, based on the advance estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's the fastest pace in around two years. And employers are still looking to hire people — with 5.9 million hires in September.
"We are attentive to recent data showing the resilience of economic growth and demand for labor," Powell said. "Evidence of growth persistently above potential, or that tightness in the labor market is no longer easing, could put further progress on inflation at risk and could warrant further tightening of monetary policy."
"The labor market remains tight, but supply and demand conditions continue to come into better balance," Powell said.
Nonfarm payroll employment is one important economic indicator of whether there's a recession. Some consumers, investors, and others are worried a recession might happen. The Conference Board believes that a recession will occur next year.
"Consumer fears of an impending recession remain elevated, consistent with the short and shallow economic contraction we anticipate for the first half of 2024," stated a press release from The Conference Board .
Watch: Why Congress' own economists predict 15 million unemployed in 2021
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Can I Collect Unemployment After a Temp Job Ends?
Can you collect unemployment if a project ended.
Doing temp work is a common way to make ends meet when you are between jobs. In most states, once you register to work through a temp agency, that agency becomes your employer of record. The agency is responsible for finding you regular job assignments. Unfortunately, there are some things the temp agency may not tell you when it comes to collecting unemployment benefits. For this reason, it's important to educate yourself before accepting a temporary assignment.
Yes, You Can
If the agency fails to find you another assignment, it is possible to collect unemployment benefits after your last assignment ends. You can also collect unemployment while working the temp job, depending upon the amount you are paid for the temp assignment. Most state unemployment security commissions have unemployment benefits calculators that allow you to calculate how much you qualify to receive while working your temp job.
The Determining Factor
There are factors that can prevent you from collecting unemployment benefits, including whether you quit your job. With temp jobs, this test is tricky, because you can be labeled a job quitter and not know it. The secret is that you must continually call the agency to see if temp assignments are available. If you neglect to call daily, the agency can say you quit. As such, make it your duty to call every single day to ask whether a job assignment is available. Keep a paper trail by documenting the date and time you called, as well as the person you spoke with. This documentation comes in handy if the agency tells the unemployment office you failed to call in.
Don't Wait Too Long
Unemployment benefits are calculated based on the amount of wages you earn during the 12 to 15 month period leading up to your unemployment. This period of time is referred to as your “base period.” It's important to keep regular job assignments during the base period. As soon as the assignments become irregular, file for unemployment. If you wait too long, it lowers the amount of money earned in your base period, which may disqualify you from receiving benefits.
Word of Caution
There are instances where an individual may collect unemployment before working a temp job and receive reduced benefits after working a temp job. For instance, you may receive $400 per week before working with the temp agency and only receive $150 per week afterward. That's a major reduction in benefits. To prevent this from happening, only accept temporary job assignments that have compensation comparable to your last steady job. If you take a lower paying job, the wages from that job will be calculated as base period wages. The good news is that the unemployment office only requires you to accept “suitable work.” Suitable work includes job assignments that are not illegal and that have wages equal or comparable to the previous job you lost. If the unemployment office asks why you turned down an assignment, explain how the assignment was “unsuitable.”
How Long Does the Company Have After You Quit a Job to Give You the Final Check? →
The Questions That the Unemployment Interviewer Asks →
Can an Employer Fire You for Taking a Leave of Absence? →
- National Employment Law Project: Temp Work & Unemployment Insurance
- ABC 7 News: Temp Job Could Cost You Unemployment Benefits
- The Legal Aid Society: Unemployment Insurance – Temporary Workers
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U.S. payrolls increased by 150,000 in October, less than expected
The U.S. economy saw job creation decelerate in October, confirming persistent expectations for a slowdown and possibly taking some heat off the Federal Reserve in its fight against inflation.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 150,000 for the month, the Labor Department reported Friday, against the Dow Jones consensus forecast for an increase of 170,000.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, against expectations that it would hold steady at 3.8%. Employment as measured in the household survey, which is used to compute the unemployment rate, showed a decline of 348,000 workers, while the rolls of the unemployed rose by 146,000.
A more encompassing jobless rate that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time positions for economic reasons rose to 7.2%, an increase of 0.2 percentage point.
Average hourly earnings, a key measure for inflation, increased 0.2% for the month, less than the 0.3% forecast, while the 4.1% year over year again was 0.1 percentage point above expectations.
Markets reacted positively to the report, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 100 points.
Jeff Cox is a finance editor with CNBC.com where he covers all aspects of the markets and monitors coverage of the financial markets and Wall Street. His stories are routinely among the most-read items on the site each day as he interviews some of the smartest and most well-respected analysts and advisors in the financial world.
Over the course of a journalism career that began in 1987, Cox has covered everything from the collapse of the financial system to presidential politics to local government battles in his native Pennsylvania.
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Job growth slowed last month, partly over the impact of the UAW strikes
Workers picket outside a Ford plant in Chicago on Oct. 10, 2023. The U.S. created 150,000 jobs in October, marking a slowdown from the previous month, partly as a result of the UAW strikes. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption
Workers picket outside a Ford plant in Chicago on Oct. 10, 2023. The U.S. created 150,000 jobs in October, marking a slowdown from the previous month, partly as a result of the UAW strikes.
U.S. employers slowed their hiring in October after a blockbuster month of job growth the previous month. The drop partly reflects the United Auto Workers strikes.
The U.S. added 150,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, somewhat lower than the 180,000 jobs that economists had forecast. The unemployment rate inched up to 3.9%.
October's job gains were about half the 297,000 jobs added in September, according to the government's revised estimates.
The slowdown reflects in part the impact of the UAW's unprecedented strike against all Big Three automakers, though the union has recently clinched deals with each of them. Factory employment in October was down by 35,000 jobs.
Overall, the data continues to show a decent pace of growth despite the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate hikes.
Wage growth eased slightly, which will help to reassure the Fed that overall inflation is moderating.
Average wages in October were up 4.1% from a year ago, which likely outpaced the cost of living by a small margin.
- labor market
October Jobs Report U.S. Job Growth Shows Signs of Slowdown
The labor market cooled, with 150,000 jobs added in October, lower than expected but not too different from monthly job gains before the pandemic.
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Monthly change in jobs
Talmon Joseph Smith
U.S. employers added 150,000 jobs last month, falling short of forecasts.
Employers added 150,000 jobs in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said on Friday.
The increase was slightly below what economists had forecast, but not too different from the sort of monthly jobs growth the U.S. economy was experiencing prepandemic.
The unemployment rate, based on a survey of households, ticked up to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent in September. It has been below 4 percent for nearly two years, a stretch not achieved since the late 1960s.
Figures for August and September were revised downward by a total of more than 100,000 from earlier reports. The surprisingly strong September gain, initially reported as 336,000 , was restated as 297,000 and will be revised again next month.
“This is mildly concerning but for now, these are still strong numbers,” said Sonu Varghese, chief market strategist at Carson Group, an asset management firm. “I think this is still just normalization.”
Average hourly earnings were up 0.2 percent from the previous month, slightly less than expected, and were 4.1 percent higher than a year earlier, slightly exceeding forecasts.
The October numbers may have been held down because the survey was taken during major work stoppages — notably the strikes by the United Automobile Workers and related layoffs. Since then, the U.A.W. has reached tentative contract agreements with the three major U.S. automakers and told striking members to return to their jobs.
Some 96,000 people reported being out of work because of a strike or labor dispute in October, the most since 1997.
Claudia Sahm, an economist at the Federal Reserve from 2007 to 2019, and the architect of a trusted recession indicator, said the report did not suggest “a good direction” for the labor market. But she added that unemployment would have to tick higher over a longer horizon for it to be clear that recession risks were heightened.
Throughout the year the economy has defied forecasts of a downturn, even as inflation lingered, driving down consumer sentiment and, to some extent, business confidence.
The economy has also experienced tremendous bifurcation in the last couple of years, with median household net worth surging while the poverty rate has ticked back up from its lows in 2021. That’s partly because the bottom one-third of households have exhausted savings accumulated during the pandemic and increased borrowing to stay afloat.
A mammoth increase in interest rates put in place by the Federal Reserve since early 2022 is looming over vulnerable borrowers and businesses as winter approaches.
Still, many market analysts are telling clients Friday that unless a major shock occurs — or household savings drain faster than expected — the economy could keep chugging along, albeit at a more sluggish rate.
After nearly two years of lagging behind inflation, recent wage gains have on average been surpassing the pace of price increases, and workers are still in demand. Layoffs, for now, are well below historical averages. And measures of labor force productivity have made impressive gains as well in recent months.
“A rock-solid American jobs market rolls on albeit at a moderating pace,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist for the accounting firm RSM, pushing back against a protruding sense of gloom. “Income gains continue to outpace inflation, which bodes well for consumption heading into the traditional holiday spending season.”
On a more technical level, Mr. Brusuelas added, the report “reaffirms the direction of monetary policy” from the Fed, which has been cautious recently in raising rates further. Financial markets rallied on the news.
Last fall, a vast majority of economists in mainstream surveys had a high level of confidence that recession was ahead. This fall, forecasts for the coming year are more mixed.
In a CNBC survey of economists, Wall Street strategists and market analysts, 49 percent said that they still expected a recession in the next 12 months, while 42 percent predicted a “soft landing,” in which inflation continues to cool without a broad contraction.
“Today’s report shows that Bidenomics is growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up — not the top down,” President Biden said in a statement, the phrase the White House has used to brand his economic policies.
He noted inflation is falling and the employment rate has been below 4 percent for 21 months in a row, calling it the longest stretch in more than half a century, “defying projections that it would take a sharp increase in unemployment to bring inflation down.”
The U.S. labor force shrank in October.
The surprising labor force rebound took a step back in October.
The labor force shrank by 201,000 last month, seasonally adjusted, and the participation rate — the share of adults either working or actively looking for work — ticked down to 62.7 percent. The rate also fell among workers in their prime working years , ages 25 to 54.
The rebound in the labor force has been one of the most encouraging economic trends over the past year, helping to ease worker shortages and allowing job growth to continue without adding to inflation. In a news conference on Wednesday, Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, pointed to the growth in the labor force as an important factor in helping policymakers achieve a “soft landing” for the economy in the face of high interest rates.
Immigration has also helped. The foreign-born labor force has grown by nearly 700,000 over the past year, although it too shrank somewhat in October.
Labor force figures often jump around from month to month, and economists caution against reading too much into short-term moves. But there are reasons to doubt that the work force can continue to grow at its recent rate in the long term. In particular, the retirement of the baby boom generation is taking a toll: Even as the participation rate among prime-age workers has surpassed its prepandemic level, the participation rate among all adults has remained depressed.
The S&P 500 opened 0.4 percent higher and continued to rally, putting the index on course for its best week this year. The rally was broad based, showing optimism in the market following the jobs data. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies that are more sensitive to the ebb and flow of the economy rose nearly 2.7 percent on Friday morning.
People are also taking on more than one job. Multiple job holders as a percentage of the total number employed climbed to 5.2 percent in October, the highest it’s been since 2019.
Investors have basically priced out the probabilty of a December Fed rate increase, as today’s jobs report has been taken as a sign the economy is slowing.
Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, said the “good news” is that the labor market slowdown has been “carefully orchestrated” by the Federal Reserve, rather than being driven by economic fundamentals.
“Businesses tell ZipRecruiter that they have many vacancies, they want to hire, and they want to expand. But high interest rates are holding them back. If rates start coming down next year, expect that pent-up demand for labor, transportation, building materials and a host of other inputs to be unleashed again,” she wrote in a note.
Reaching into the nerdier elements of the report, the diffusion index — which measures the breadth of job growth across the economy — narrowed substantially, from 61.4 percent to 52 percent. That indicates that the labor market is being driven by only a few industries now, as sectors like transportation and warehousing, retail, and leisure and hospitality have flattened out.
This was the lowest reading for the diffusion index since the initial collapse of the job market during the pandemic. Although the index hit an eight-month high in September, so it’s a pretty volatile measure.
Labor force participation for prime aged women, which reached an all time high over the summer at 77.8 percent, has flattened out since then.
Looking at labor force participation by gender, something happened with prime aged men: After reaching 89.6 percent in September, the highest level since 2019, participation for men between the age of 25 and 54 dropped back down to 89.0 percent last month.
Looking all the way back to the beginning of the pandemic, the biggest performers in terms of jobs added have been business services, education and health care — which have more than made up for a continuing gap in leisure and hospitality, and anemic growth in retail and government.
Most industries are back to prepandemic levels
Change in jobs since February 2020 , by sector
SINCE FEB 2020
Education and health
+1,590,000 jobs since Feb. 2020
Some 96,000 people reported being out of work due to a strike or labor dispute in October. That’s the most since 1997.
The unemployment rate remains low at 3.9 percent, but the drift upwards over the past few months is notable. Per a rule of thumb developed by Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist, the increase in the unmeployment rate indicates that recession risks are now elevated — though not yet at the point where it’s likely that a recession has already begun.
Another indicator of labor market slack, a broader measure of people working part time who’d rather work full time and others marginally attached to the labor market, also ticked up to 7.2 percent — the highest it’s been since February 2022.
At the same time, data out yesterday showed that labor productivity grew strongly — at a 4.7 percent annual rate — suggesting that employers are squeezing more out of each hour workers put in.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury is now down 0.3 percentage points since the end of last week, a big move in that market. It has now fallen more than 0.1 percentage points today.
The drop in the 10-year yield means that mortgage rates may follow suit. The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, most popular type of home loan in the U.S., dipped to 7.76 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac.
The Fed has been waiting for labor market cooling, and it showed up in October.
Year-over-year percentage change in earnings vs. inflation
The soft October jobs report — with a moderate gain in employment, a rise in unemployment and relatively slow wage growth — is likely to be welcomed by Federal Reserve officials as long-awaited evidence that the economy is cooling.
The Fed has raised interest rates sharply since early 2022 in a bid to cool demand, slow the economy and drag down rapid inflation. Officials think that borrowing costs are high enough to weigh on economic growth now, and left them unchanged at 5.25 to 5.5 percent at a meeting this week.
But policymakers have kept alive the possibility of another rate increase if the labor market and growth continued to come in strong. Officials have been surprised by the economy’s resilience, with solid jobs growth and continued consumer spending.
While they would usually cheer such developments, they have been concerned that so much momentum could give companies the wherewithal to keep raising prices, making it difficult to fully tame inflation.
But the October report showed the kind of cool-down that economists have long expected to take hold.
Policymakers have been keeping an especially close eye on wage growth: Companies that are paying more to attract workers are likely to try to raise prices to cover their costs. Average hourly earnings climbed by a muted 0.2 percent from the previous month, less than economists expected.
Earnings climbed 4.1 percent from a year earlier, down from 4.2 percent previously.
At the same time, the average workweek fell slightly, a suggestion that companies aren’t trying to eke so much out of their existing work force, and a sign of softening labor conditions.
And together with the slowdown in hiring and the tick-up in unemployment, to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent previously, the overall takeaway was that the job market is not going as gangbusters as it previously had been.
The jobs report was “a complete reversal in tone to last month’s reading,” Gennadiy Goldberg, a rates strategist at TD Securities, said in an emailed response to questions. “The Fed is likely to interpret the reading as an indication that tighter monetary policy is starting to have a gradual impact on the real economy.”
At the same time, the economy is not falling apart: Employers did continue to hire; they just did so much more gradually. And strike activity shaved some workers off payrolls.
The takeaway is likely to be a good one for the Fed, as it tries to cool the economy gently without pushing it off a cliff.
“What concerns me is when we see such an increase in the unemployment rate, it tends to trend higher,” said Blerina Uruci, chief U.S. economist at T. Rowe Price. “That’s what I’m monitoring closely. Otherwise, the slowdown in employment looks orderly.”
I’m not surprised to see September’s big job gain get revised down given how surprising the preliminary figure was. Similarly, it’s not shocking to get a slightly weak report after months of stronger-than-expected growth. This is why most economists recommend focusing on a three-month average of job gains, which now stands at 204,000.
The unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9 percent. It’s now at the highest level since January 2022.
Unemployment ticked up in October
Construction employment continues to grow at an impressive rate considering the rapid rise in interest rates that makes financing new projects more expensive. The industry added 23,000 jobs last month, representing a gain of 219,000 over the year.
The biggest chunk of that growth, 10,000 jobs in residential specialty trade contractors, might be an indication that people who don’t want to sell their homes with mortgage rates so high are instead renovating them.
One reason for the growth: Lower levels of existing homes on the market have pushed buyers to new homes, increasing the need for construction workers.
But building takes time to buy the land and get the permits. “Builders have not been able to ramp up as much as they like,” said Jeff Ostrowski, an analyst at the personal finance company Bankrate.
As has been the case for many months now, the biggest driver of continued job growth was the health care and social assistance sector, which added 77,200 jobs — nearly half of the overall total added.
The dollar has fallen sharply, about 0.8 percent, according to an index that tracks its value against a group of other major currencies.
The dollar had strengthened as rates rose because higher rates increase the allure of U.S. government debt to investors around the world, requiring them to buy dollars to invest. As rates fall, the strength of the dollar has begun to unwind.
The ranks of the long-term unemployed have edged up over the past year, and rose slightly in October as well. There have been some recent signs that while layoffs remain low, people who do lose jobs are having a harder time finding new ones. The number of people filing continued claims for unemployment insurance, for example, has risen in recent weeks, even as filings for new benefits have stayed low.
The unemployment rate for Black workers ticked up slightly in October to 5.8 percent, while it rose to 4.8 percent for Hispanic workers and 3.5 percent for white workers.
In a long-delayed sign of pandemic healing, government employment re-attained its level in February of 2020, at about 22.9 million workers. That reflected a gain of 51,000 people in October, mostly in local government education.
Federal government employment was the first to recover, but state and local government had lagged behind, with the difficulty of raising pay quickly enough to keep up with private sector wage hikes.
The number of unemployed people rose by 146,000 in October, while the number of people with jobs fell by 348,000. (Those figures come from a different survey than the headline payroll number.) The labor force shrank by 201,000.
All around, for the Federal Reserve this report is a sign that the labor market slowdown it has been waiting for is materializing. While central bankers usually like a strong labor market, they’ve been looking for a sign that a cooling is underway to give them confidence that inflation will return fully to 2 percent.
This report probably reduces the chance of another Fed rate increase, all else equal. But it is just one report, and the Fed will get a November jobs report before their next meeting.
The average workweek, which Wall Street has been watching closely for a sign of whether the job market is cooling, ticked down to 34.3 hours in October, from 34.4 previously.
Manufacturing wasn’t the only evidence of strike activity affecting the job numbers. Employment in motion picture and sound recording was down 5,000 jobs in October, bringing the total lost since the start of the Writers Guild of America strike in May to 44,000. (That strike was resolved, but the industry has continued to be affected by a strike by the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA.)
Employment in manufacturing decreased by 35,000 jobs last month, the report said, which came as a motor vehicle strike helped to shave off 33,000 jobs in that sector.
August and September’s job gains were revised down by a combined 101,000.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury is falling in response to jobs numbers, which came in lower than expected. It’s fallen around 8 basis points since the start of trading.
And the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, as investor took the numbers as a sign that the economy is slowing, potentially alleviating the need for further rate increases.
Ahead of the jobs report, investors are looking for signs for a weakening economy, which would improve the odds that the Fed may be finished with raising interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which measures the cost of borrowing for the U.S. government, has fallen below 4.7 percent after threatening to go above 5 percent recently.
Futures on the S&P 500, which allow investors to trade before the market officially opens, are inching lower this morning. But that comes after a sharp rally this week which has put the index on course for its best weekly gain of the year, up roughly 5 percent.
In a move that reflects the somewhat fragile state of the economy and the labor market, A.P. Moller-Maersk, a shipping giant that serves as a bellwether for global trade, said today that it plans to cut at least 10,000 jobs. That’s about 9 percent of the company’s work force and comes alongside a forecast for a decline of up to 2 percent in the demand for container ships this year.
Read more about what companies have been saying recently about hiring and wages in the post below by my colleague Santul.
Labor costs are on executives’ minds as the market loosens.
Many employers are still struggling to find available workers, but the labor market is loosening. At the same time, companies are balancing cost concerns — especially as interest rates remain elevated — with the need to entice employees.
Overall, labor market churn has decreased. The share of employees quitting their jobs has trended down for 18 months, and the rate of layoffs has stayed relatively low.
“We are committed and continue to hire,” Karen S. Lynch, the president and chief executive of CVS Health, said this week in an earnings call. “It’s a tight labor market, but we’ve been having very good success in hiring.”
Demand remains high for skilled workers.
“The competition for talent, especially the best talent, remains very, very strong,” said David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, during its latest earnings call. He added that during a recent search at the bank, which has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs this year, the company had received 260,000 applications for 2,600 available positions.
Companies are also increasingly vigilant of their labor and wage expenses.
During S&P Global’s recent call with investors and analysts, the company’s chief financial officer, Ewout Steenbergen, said it expected margins to improve starting next quarter thanks in part to “tight management of head count and other expenses.”
For Meta, which has ended a hiring freeze, a significant amount of hiring planned for 2023 will now happen in 2024, said Susan Li, the company’s chief financial officer.
And during the latest earnings call for Southwest Airlines, Tammy Romo, the carrier’s chief financial officer, said it was expecting “increased headwinds” in 2024, largely because of higher labor costs.
Amid worries that the labor tightness is increasing skill mismatches, many companies are beefing up their artificial intelligence abilities.
“We want to make sure that we harness that opportunity and make the right level of investments in A.I.,” said Gary Swidler, chief financial officer of Match Group, the online dating company that owns Tinder, Hinge and other services, during its most recent earnings call. “We’re still trying to calibrate what that means in terms of hiring.”
The prospect of a government shutdown hangs over the economy.
Enjoy today’s jobs report. It could be the last one we get for a while.
Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown earlier this fall, passing a stopgap funding measure hours before a midnight deadline. But that money runs out in mid-November, and if Congress doesn’t pass either another extension or a complete appropriations package before then, most federal operations will be suspended after Nov. 17.
Among the casualties if a shutdown happens: government data . All of the major federal statistical agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau, would go dark.
Fortunately for data users, the Current Population Survey — one of the two sources of data for the monthly jobs report — will be completed before Nov. 17. (The survey will be conducted a week earlier than usual because of the timing of Thanksgiving.) But the shutdown would occur when government employees would normally be processing the data. That could delay the November jobs report, which is scheduled for Dec. 8.
Other major data releases, such as October figures on income and spending (scheduled for Nov. 30) and the November Consumer Price Index (scheduled for Dec. 12), could also be delayed.
A shutdown could also have farther-reaching consequences for the economy , taking both a direct toll, as hundreds of thousand of federal workers are forced to go without a paycheck, and an indirect one, as government dysfunction shakes consumer and business confidence. In a news conference on Wednesday, Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, cited a lapse in funding as one of several threats facing the economy in coming weeks.
“There’s plenty of risk out there,” he said.
Some are gloomy, but the overall economic picture remains bright.
The jobs report for October is landing as the economy continues to defy forecasts of a downturn, even as inflation lingers.
Financial markets have been volatile in the past month, and consumer sentiment is gloomier than it was just before the pandemic. That’s partly because the bottom one-third of households have exhausted savings accumulated during the pandemic and have increased borrowing to stay afloat. And the mammoth increase in interest rates since early 2022 looms over everything.
But analysts are increasingly telling clients that unless a major shock occurs, or household savings drain faster than expected, the economy is likely to keep chugging along.
After nearly two years of lagging behind inflation, recent wage gains have on average been surpassing the pace of price increases, and workers are still in demand.
Layoffs are well below historical averages. Labor force participation for adults in their prime working years is higher than it was before the pandemic as well. That has led more experts and policymakers — including the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell — to say the economy may be able to remain hot longer than previously thought possible. Measures of labor force productivity have made impressive gains.
In a CNBC survey of economists, Wall Street strategists and market analysts, 49 percent said they still expected a recession in the next 12 months — while 42 percent predicted a “soft landing,” in which inflation continues to cool without a broad contraction.
US weekly jobless claims rise marginally; productivity accelerates in Q3
[1/2] An employee hiring sign is seen in a window of a business in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., April 7, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
- Weekly jobless claims increase 5,000 to 217,000
- Continuing claims jump 35,000 to 1.818 million
- Productivity accelerates at 4.7% rate in third quarter
- Unit labor costs decrease at 0.8% pace in third quarter
WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased moderately last week as the labor market continued to show few signs of a significant slowdown.
While the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday also showed unemployment rolls rising to a six-month high, economists were divided on whether this suggested a material change in the underlying trend. The so-called continuing claims have been rising since mid-September.
Some economists shrugged off the increase, which they blamed on difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations. They noted a similar pattern last year over the same period, which was not accompanied by an uptick in the unemployment rate. Others believed this was a sign that laid-off workers were experiencing longer spells of unemployment.
"The sustained increase in continuing claims since Labor Day appears to be a seasonal adjustment phenomenon, as a similar upswing occurred last year," said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP in New York. "We would not give any weight to the increase at this point. It seems likely to be revised away in next spring's annual revisions."
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 217,000 for the week ended Oct. 28. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 210,000 claims for the latest week. Though the labor market is gradually cooling, conditions remain tight, highlighting the economy's enduring strength. The government reported on Wednesday that there were 1.5 job openings for every unemployed person in September.
The U.S. central bank held interest rates steady on Wednesday but left the door open to a further increase in borrowing costs in a nod to the economy's resilience. Since March 2022, the Fed has raised its policy rate by 525 basis points to the current 5.25%-5.50% range.
Unadjusted claims rose 2,768 to 196,767 last week. There were notable increases in California, Michigan and North Carolina, which more than offset a sharp decline in New York. The rise in claims in Michigan likely reflected recently ended strikes in the automobile industry.
The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid, a proxy for hiring, advanced 35,000 to 1.818 million during the week ending Oct. 21. That was the highest level for continuing claims since mid-April.
"The rise in continued claims, if sustained, would be a sign of a further loosening in conditions in the labor market," said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics in New York.
Goldman Sachs economists are among those who believe that seasonal adjustment problems were raising the level of continuing claims. Goldman Sachs said in a note that it expected the seasonal distortions to "exert a cumulative boost of 375,000 to the level of continuing claims by March."
Regardless, the labor market remains resilient. A separate report on Thursday from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed U.S.-based employers announced 36,836 job cuts in October, down 22% from September. Planned layoffs were up 9% compared to October last year.
Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher on hopes that the Fed was done raising interest rates. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices rose, with the yield on the 10-year note falling to a three-week low.
The claims report has no bearing on October's employment report, which is scheduled to be released on Friday, as the data fall outside the survey period.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 180,000 last month after rising by 336,000 in September. The anticipated decline in job growth would partly reflect the strikes by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against Detroit's "Big Three" car makers.
The government reported last week that there were at least 30,000 UAW members on strike during the period it surveyed business establishments for October's employment report.
There was encouraging news on the inflation front. A report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics showed worker productivity grew at its quickest pace in three years in the third quarter, depressing labor costs. The trend, if sustained, will help in the Fed's efforts to bring inflation back to its 2% target. The surge also likely reflected investment in technology, including generative AI, economists said.
Nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at a 4.7% annualized rate last quarter, the fastest since the third quarter of 2020. That followed a 3.6% pace of growth in the April-June quarter.
Economists had forecast productivity would increase at a 4.1% rate last quarter. The jump in productivity was flagged by a report last week showing the economy growing at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the third quarter. Productivity grew at a 2.2% pace from a year ago.
Unit labor costs - the price of labor per single unit of output - fell at a 0.8% rate in the third quarter. They grew at a 3.2% pace in the prior quarter and rose at a 1.9% rate from a year ago. That was the smallest year-on-year increase since the second quarter of 2021.
"Unit labor costs are a good indicator for the direction of core inflation," said Jay Hawkins, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. "Thus, the Fed will take comfort in the third-quarter decline, along with lower core inflation readings over the summer, and likely remain on the sideline."
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Advancing social justice, promoting decent work
Ilo is a specialized agency of the united nations.
World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2018
ILO: Unemployment and decent work deficits to remain high in 2018
The ILO’s flagship report shows that while the global unemployment rate is stabilizing, unemployment and decent work deficits will stay at persistently high levels in many parts of the world.
Vulnerable employment is on the rise and the pace of working poverty reduction is slowing
Looking ahead, structural shifts and ageing will add further pressures on the labour market.
Main regional findings
- The unemployment rate should decline from 11.7 per cent in 2017 to 11.5 per cent in 2018.
- The number of unemployed remains steady at 8.7 million amidst strong growth in the labour force.
- Globally, the region features the highest unemployment rate driven by large gaps for youth and women who are significantly over-represented among the unemployed.
- The unemployment rate is expected to reach 7.2 per cent, essentially remaining unchanged.
- The number of unemployed should increase by 1 million due to the region’s high levels of labour force growth.
- More than one in three workers is living in conditions of extreme poverty, while almost three out of four workers are in vulnerable employment.
- Unemployment is likely to decline from 4.7 per cent in 2017 to 4.5 per cent in 2018.
- This is driven by a decline in the unemployment rates in both Canada and the United States.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- The unemployment rate is projected to decrease only marginally, going from 8.2 per cent in 2017 to 7.7 per cent by 2019.
- Considering that the regional unemployment rate was as low as 6.1 per cent in 2014, the region is still far from fully recovering from the employment losses of recent years.
- Labour market conditions are expected to remain relatively stable, with the regional unemployment rate projected to slightly decline to 8.3 per cent in 2018 and to edge upward in 2019.
- As a result, almost 5 million people will be unemployed in 2018, with women accounting for almost one third of the unemployed pool despite representing only 16 per cent of the regional labour force.
Asia and the Pacific
- Unemployment should remain low by international standards and rather stable over the forecast period, at 4.2 per cent.
- This is largely due to the fact that the region is expected to continue to create jobs at a fast rate.
- The number of employed persons is projected to grow by some 23 million between 2017 and 2019.
- Vulnerable employment affects almost half of all workers, more than 900 million, in the region.
Northern, Southern and Western Europe
- Sustained by better-than-expected economic activity, the unemployment rate is projected to have decreased from 9.2 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017, the lowest rate since 2008.
- The largest reductions in unemployment rates, of the order of 2 percentage points, are likely to be seen in Spain and Greece (15.4 and 19.5 per cent respectively in 2018).
- The unemployment rate should also continue to fall in 2018 in Italy, Ireland and Portugal but at a slower pace than over the period 2015-2017.
- It should remain stable in France and in the UK, although in the latter country it is expected to slightly edge upward in 2019.
- As economic growth rebounds considerably, the unemployment rate is projected to decline, but only modestly, reaching 5.3 per cent in 2018 from 5.5 per cent in 2017.
- This reflects falling unemployment rates in countries such as Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia, only partly offset by the expectation of growing unemployment in the Czech Republic.
Central and Western Asia
- The relatively strong rebound in economic growth is only partially translating into falling unemployment. The regional unemployment rate is expected to remain at around 8.6 per cent throughout 2018 and 2019.
- Vulnerable employment remains persistently high, affecting more than 30 per cent of workers in 2017 but it is estimated to slightly decline over 2018 and 2019 (0.6 percentage points).
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U.S. job openings rise slightly to 9.6 million, sign of continued strength in the job market
File - An employee works on a solar panel inside the Hanwha Qcells Solar plant on Oct. 16, 2023, in Dalton, Ga. On Wednesday, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for September. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers posted 9.6 million job openings in September, up from 9.5 million in August and a sign that the U.S. job market remains strong even as the U.S. Federal Reserve attempts to cool the economy.
Layoffs fell to 1.5 million from 1.7 million in August, more evidence that workers enjoy an unusual degree of job security. The number of Americans quitting their jobs — a sign of confidence they can find better pay elsewhere — was virtually unchanged.
The September openings are down from a record 12 million in March 2022 but remain high by historical standards. Before 2021 — when the American economy began to surge from the COVID-19 pandemic — monthly job openings had never topped 8 million. Unemployment was 3.8% in September, just a couple of ticks above a half century low.
Openings were up by 141,000 at hotels and restaurants, which have struggled to attract and keep workers since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020.
The Federal Reserve’s inflation fighters would like to see the job market cool. They worry that strong hiring pressures employers into raising wages — and trying to pass the higher costs along with price increases that feed inflation.
The Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate 11 times since March 2022 in an effort to contain inflation that hit a four-decade high in 2022. In September, consumer prices were up 3.7% from a year earlier, down from a peak 9.1% in June last year but still above the Fed’s 2% target.
The combination of sturdy hiring, healthy economic growth and decelerating inflation has raised hopes the Fed can pull off a so-called soft landing — raising rates just enough contain price increases without tipping the economy into recession. The central bank is expected to announce later Wednesday that it will leave its benchmark rate unchanged for the second straight meeting as it waits to assess the fallout from its earlier rate hikes.
On Friday, the Labor Department releases its jobs report for October. Forecasters surveyed by the data firm FactSet expect that U.S. employers added a solid 189,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate stayed at 3.8%.
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Labour force survey, october 2023.
Employment was little changed in October (+18,000; +0.1%) and the employment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 61.9%.
The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.7%, marking the fourth monthly increase in the past six months.
Employment was up in construction (+23,000; +1.5%) and information, culture and recreation (+21,000; +2.5%) in October. This was offset by decreases in wholesale and retail trade ( -2 2,000; -0 .7%) and manufacturing ( -1 9,000; -1 .0%).
Employment increased in four provinces in October, led by Alberta (+38,000; +1.5%), while it declined in Quebec ( -2 2,000; -0 .5%).
Total hours worked were virtually unchanged in October but were up by 2.1% on a year-over-year basis.
On a year-over-year basis, average hourly wages rose 4.8% (+$1.56 to $34.08) in October, following an increase of 5.0% in September.
Employment holds steady in October
Employment was little changed in October (+18,000; +0.1%), after increasing by 64,000 (+0.3%) in September and by 40,000 (+0.2%) in August. Both full-time and part-time employment held steady in October.
The employment rat e—t he proportion of the working-age population that is employe d—f ell 0.1 percentage points to 61.9% in October, as the population aged 15 and older in the Labour Force Survey ( LFS ) increased by 85,000 (+0.3%).
Since January 2023, employment growth has averaged 28,000 per month, while growth in the population aged 15 and older in the LFS has averaged 81,000 per month. The employment rate in October (61.9%) was down from the recent peak of 62.5% recorded in January 2023, but was little changed from October 2022 (62.0%). The employment rate has varied between 61.9% and 62.0% since July 2023.
Chart 1 Employment rate falls in October, little changed from a year earlier
Employment up among men aged 55 and older
Among men aged 55 and older, employment rose by 31,000 (+1.3%) in October, the first increase for this group since April. Employment was unchanged for women aged 55 and older.
Employment among core-aged (aged 25 to 54) men and women was little changed in October. While there was an increase (+28,000; +0.5%) in full-time employment among core-aged women, this was offset by a decrease in part-time employment for that same group ( -2 4,000; -2 .4%).
For those aged 15 to 24, employment in October was also little changed. Increases among male youth (+14,000; +1.0%) were concentrated in part-time employment but were offset by decreases in female youth employment ( -1 9,000; -1 .5%), which were concentrated in full-time work.
Unemployment rate increases in October, continuing upward trend since April
The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to reach 5.7% in October, marking the fourth monthly increase in the past six months. Since April, the rate has increased by 0.7 percentage points, after holding steady at a near record-low 5.0% from December 2022 to April 2023.
There were 1.2 million unemployed persons in October, an increase of 171,000 (+16.2%) since April. Among those who were unemployed in September, 60.1% remained unemployed in Octobe r—a greater proportion than 12 months earlier (55.4%) (not seasonally adjusted), and an indication that job seekers are facing more difficulties finding employment than a year ago.
As unemployment has increased and job vacancies have decreased in recent months, the labour force participation rat e—t he proportion of the population aged 15 and older that was either employed or looking for wor k—h as remained relatively high. The participation rate in October (65.6%) was unchanged from the previous month and up 0.2 percentage points on a year-over-year basis.
Chart 2 Unemployment rate reaches 5.7%, up 0.7 percentage points from April
Youth unemployment rate trends up
The unemployment rate among youth (aged 15 to 24 years) increased by 0.9 percentage points in October to reach 11.4%. From March to October, the unemployment rate rose by 2.7 percentage points among female youth and by 1.8 percentage points among male youth. On a year-over-year basis, the youth unemployment rate for students was up 1.9 percentage points to 11.1% in October, while it was little changed at 10.7% for non-students (not seasonally adjusted).
The youth unemployment rate has historically been higher than that for older adults, but the size of the difference has varied over time. In October, the youth unemployment rate (11.4%) was 2.4 times the corresponding rate for adults aged 25 to 54 (4.8%). This represents an increase from March, when the youth unemployment rate was 2.1 times the rate of core-aged adults, but was virtually unchanged from the pre-pandemic 2019 average.
In October, the unemployment rate remained notably higher for youth who were part of a racialized group and for Indigenous youth.
Among the largest racialized groups, the unemployment rate was higher in October for Black (17.7%) and Chinese (14.7%) Canadian youth than for the total youth population (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted). The rate for South Asian Canadians was 12.7%, similar to the overall youth unemployment rate. On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate was little changed among South Asian and Chinese Canadian youth, but it was up by 3.9 percentage points among Black youth.
In October, the unemployment rate for First Nations youth living off-reserve was 16.4%, up 4.2 percentage points on a year-over-year basis. Among Métis youth, the unemployment rate was 13.2%, little changed from the same month in 2022.
More workers in construction and in information, culture and recreation
In construction, employment increased by 23,000 (+1.5%) in October, more than offsetting a decline of 18,000 ( -1 .1%) in September. Despite the increase, employment in this industry in October was little changed from the same month in 2022, and down by 32,000 ( -2 .0%) from the record high reached in January 2023.
Employment in information, culture, and recreation rose by 21,000 (+2.5%) in October, partly offsetting decreases in September ( -1 2,000; -1 .4%) and July ( -1 6,000; -1 .8%) (there was little change in August). On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industr y—w hich includes telecommunications carriers, broadcasting providers, and amusement and recreatio n—w as up by 7.8% (+61,000) in October, outpacing growth across all industries (+2.5%). Employment in the industry began an upward trend in the fall of 2022 and reached a record-high level in May 2023.
In wholesale and retail trade, employment declined by 22,000 ( -0 .7%) in October, the first decline since October 2022. Employment in this industry was up by 49,000 (+1.7%) on a year-over-year basis.
In manufacturing, employment fell by 19,000 ( -1 .0%) in October 2023, but was little changed on a year-over-year basis.
Employment in health care and social assistance remained little changed in October for the third month in a row. Year over year, employment in this industry grew by 60,000 (+2.3%), similar to the average pace of growth across all industries (+2.5%). According to the most recent data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey , available for the month of August 2023, job vacancies in health care and social assistance had not declined from the same month the previous year, unlike in most other sectors, and the job vacancy rate in August 2023 was the second-highest of any sector.
Chart 3 Construction and information, culture and recreation lead employment growth in October
Employment up in four provinces in October, while Quebec records a decline
Employment rose in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in October, while it declined in Quebec. There was little change in the other provinces. For further information on key province and industry level labour market indicators, see " Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app ."
Employment increased by 38,000 (+1.5%) in Alberta in October, offsetting the decline in September. The unemployment rate was little changed at 5.8%. In the 12 months to October, employment in the province rose by 92,000 (+3.8%) with sizable gains in health care and social assistance, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and natural resources.
In Saskatchewan, employment increased by 9,100 (+1.5%) in October, the second consecutive monthly increase. The unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.4%, while the employment rate rose 0.8 percentage points to 64.5%.
Employment increased in Nova Scotia (+8,200; +1.7%) and New Brunswick (+2,400; +0.6%) in October. The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.6% in Nova Scotia, and was down 0.6 percentage points to 6.6% in New Brunswick.
In Quebec, employment fell by 22,000 ( -0 .5%) in October, after increasing by 39,000 (+0.9%) in September. From January to August 2023, employment in the province varied little. The unemployment rate in October rose 0.5 percentage points to 4.9% and the employment rate decreased 0.4 percentage points to 61.9%. In the Montréal census metropolitan area ( CMA ), the unemployment rate increased 1.0 percentage points and reached 6.0% in October.
Employment was little changed in Ontario in October for the fourth consecutive month. The employment rate in October (61.4%) was down 0.3 percentage points from September and 0.9 percentage points from the recent high of 62.3% in April 2023. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% in October, mostly due to more youth searching for work.
Map 1 Unemployment rate up in Quebec and Ontario in October
In the spotlight: One in three Canadians live in a household experiencing financial difficulties
Inflationary pressures have eased compared with 2022, and year-over-year growth in the Consumer Price Index decelerated from a peak of 8.1% in June 2022 to 3.8% in September 2023 . However, the higher cost of essential goods and services continues to place financial pressures on many households across Canada. In September, for example, increases in the cost of shelter (+6.0%) and food (+5.9%) outpaced annual wage growth (+5.0%).
In October 2023, 1 in 3 Canadians aged 15 and older (33.1%) was living in a household that had found it difficult or very difficult to meet its financial needs in terms of transportation, housing, food, clothing and other necessary expenses over the previous four weeks (not seasonally adjusted). This included nearly 1 in 10 (9.3%) Canadians living in a household that found it very difficult to meet financial needs. While the proportion of people in households finding it either difficult or very difficult to meet financial needs in October 2023 was down slightly compared with the same month a year earlier (35.5%), it remained notably higher than the proportion recorded in October 2020 (20.4%).
In October 2023, people living in a rented dwelling were more likely to be in a household experiencing difficulties meeting financial needs (41.3%), compared with those living in a dwelling owned by a household member with a mortgage (36.1%) or without a mortgage (20.0%).
Among Canadians living in dual-earner households with children, 36.1% experienced difficulties meeting financial needs in October. Among single-earner households with children, this proportion increased to 45.5%.
Nearly half (48.7%) of those living in lone-parent families in which the parent was employed reported difficulties meeting their financial needs. The proportion increased to almost 7 in 10 (69.8%) among lone-parent families in which the parent was not employed.
Among immigrants who had landed in the previous 10 years, 44.7% lived in a household that found it difficult or very difficult to meet its financial needs, compared with 30.8% for people born in Canada.
Among the largest racialized population groups, South Asian (47.0%) and Black (43.9%) Canadians were more likely to be in a household experiencing difficulties meeting its financial needs. The proportion was lower for Chinese Canadians (26.8%).
Among First Nations people living off-reserve, 39.5% lived in a household experiencing financial difficulties, and for Métis the proportion was 40.6%.
Among the 20 largest CMAs in Canada, the highest proportions of persons living in households reporting difficulties meeting financial needs were in Southern Ontario, led by St. Catharines–Niagara (41.8%), Windsor (41.0%), Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (40.7%) and Toronto (38.1%). In contrast, the proportion was lowest in Québec (20.5%), Kelowna (26.7%) and Gatineau (26.9%).
Chart 4 Households in Southern Ontario most likely to report difficulty meeting financial needs
Sustainable Development Goals
On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development —the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.
The Labour Force Survey is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goals:
Note to readers
The Labour Force Survey ( LFS ) estimates for October are for the week of October 8 to 14, 2023.
The LFS estimates are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. As a result, monthly estimates will show more variability than trends observed over longer time periods. For more information, see " Interpreting Monthly Changes in Employment from the Labour Force Survey ."
This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.
LFS estimates at the Canada level do not include the territories.
The LFS estimates are the first in a series of labour market indicators released by Statistics Canada, which includes indicators from programs such as the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours ( SEPH ); Employment Insurance Statistics; and the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey. For more information on the conceptual differences between employment measures from the LFS and those from the SEPH , refer to section 8 of the Guide to the Labour Force Survey ( Catalogue number 71-543-G ).
Face-to-face personal interviewing resumed in November 2022. Telephone interviews continued to be conducted by interviewers working from their homes rather than Statistics Canada's call centres, as they have since March 2020. About 48,200 interviews were completed in October and in-depth data quality evaluations conducted each month confirm that the LFS continues to produce an accurate portrait of Canada's labour market.
The employment rate is the number of employed people as a percentage of the population aged 15 and older. The rate for a particular group (for example, youths aged 15 to 24) is the number employed in that group as a percentage of the population for that group.
The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).
The participation rate is the number of employed and unemployed people as a percentage of the population aged 15 and older.
Full-time employment consists of persons who usually work 30 hours or more per week at their main or only job.
Part-time employment consists of persons who usually work less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job.
Total hours worked refers to the number of hours actually worked at the main job by the respondent during the reference week, including paid and unpaid hours. These hours reflect temporary decreases or increases in work hours (for example, hours lost due to illness, vacation, holidays or weather; or more hours worked due to overtime).
In general, month-to-month or year-to-year changes in the number of people employed in an age group reflect the net effect of two factors: (1) the number of people who changed employment status between reference periods, and (2) the number of employed people who entered or left the age group (including through aging, death or migration) between reference periods.
Information on racialized groups
A new set of data tables presenting annual employment characteristics of racialized groups is now available on the Statistics Canada website (14-10-0438-01, 14-10-0438-02, and 14-10-0438-03). The employment characteristics included in these tables are class of worker, industry and occupation.
Data on " racialized groups " are derived from the "visible minority" variable. "Visible minority" refers to whether or not a person belongs to one of the visible minority groups defined by the Employment Equity Act . The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese.
Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted estimates, which facilitate comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions .
Population growth in the Labour Force Survey
The LFS target population includes all persons aged 15 years and older whose usual place of residence is in Canada, with the exception of those living on reserves, full-time members of the regular Armed Forces and persons living in institutions (including inmates of penal institutions and patients in hospitals and nursing homes).
The LFS target population includes temporary resident s—t hat is, those with a valid work or study permit, their families, and refugee claimant s—a s well as permanent residents (landed immigrants) and the Canadian-born.
Information gathered from LFS respondents is weighted to represent the survey target population using population calibration totals. These totals are updated each month, using the most recently available information on population changes, including changes in the number of non-permanent residents. LFS population calibration totals are derived from Canada's official population estimates using similar sources and methods, with minor adjustments being made to reflect exclusions from the LFS target population.
The next release of the LFS will be on December 1, 2023. November 2023 data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of November 5 to 11, 2023.
More information about the concepts and use of the Labour Force Survey is available online in the Guide to the Labour Force Survey ( Catalogue number 71-543-G ).
The product " Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app " ( Catalogue number 14200001 ) is also available. This interactive visualization application provides seasonally adjusted estimates by province, sex, age group and industry.
The product " Labour Market Indicators, by province and census metropolitan area, seasonally adjusted " ( Catalogue number 71-607-X ) is also available. This interactive dashboard provides customizable access to key labour market indicators.
The product " Labour Market Indicators, by province, territory and economic region, unadjusted for seasonality " ( Catalogue number 71-607-X ) is also available. This dynamic web application provides access to labour market indicators for Canada, provinces, territories and economic regions.
The product Labour Force Survey: Public Use Microdata File ( Catalogue number 71M0001X ) is also available. This public use microdata file contains non-aggregated data for a wide variety of variables collected from the Labour Force Survey. The data have been modified to ensure that no individual or business is directly or indirectly identified. This product is for users who prefer to do their own analysis by focusing on specific subgroups in the population or by cross-classifying variables that are not in our catalogued products.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136 ; 514-283-8300 ; [email protected] ) or Media Relations ( [email protected] ).
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California’s unemployment rate increases slightly in September
NR No. 23-42 Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry 916-654-9029 [email protected]
IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of Sept. 2023 is taken from the survey week including Sept. 12th. Data for the month of Sept. is scheduled for release on Nov. 17, 2023.
Employers added 8,700 nonfarm payroll jobs
SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.7 percent 1 as the state’s employers added 8,700 nonfarm payroll jobs 2 to the economy, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. Total nonfarm employment for August 2023 was revised down by 19,900 jobs due, in large part, to revised reductions in the Professional & Business Services sector.
California's Labor Market, by the Numbers...
- Since the current economic expansion began in April 2020, California has gained 3,191,000 jobs, which averages out to a gain of 77,829 jobs per month.
- As of September 2023, California has added 436,400 more nonfarm jobs than it had in February 2020 at the state’s pre-pandemic high.
- Five of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in September with Private Education & Health Services (+18,200) leading the way thanks to above average increases in General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities, and Individual and Family Services.
- Leisure & Hospitality (+11,300) also performed well thanks, in part, to job gains in the Accommodation industry group.
- Professional & Business Services (-10,900) posted the largest month-over job loss due to above average declines in Accounting, Tax Prep and Bookkeeping Services, Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services, and Scientific Research and Development Services.
1. The unemployment rate comes from a separate federal survey of 5,100 California households.
2. The nonfarm payroll job numbers come from a federal survey of 80,000 California businesses.
Data Trends about Jobs in the Economy
Total nonfarm payroll jobs.
Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs (Comes from a monthly survey of approximately 80,000 California businesses that estimates jobs in the economy – seasonally adjusted)
- Month-over – Total nonfarm jobs in California’s 11 major industries totaled 18,109,000 in September – a net gain of 8,700 from August. This followed a downward revised (-19,900) month-over gain of 3,200 jobs in August.
- Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 302,800 (a 1.7 percent increase) from September 2022 to September 2023 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 3,192,000 jobs (a 2.1 percent increase).
California Industries Payroll Jobs by Biggest Month-Over Change
Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased from August by 800 to a total of 431,300 jobs in September. The agricultural industry had 5,000 more farm jobs in September 2023 than it did in September a year ago.
Data Trends about Workers in the Economy
Employment and Unemployment in California (Based on a monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy)
- Employed – The number of Californians employed in September was 18,470,700, a decrease of 36,300 persons from August’s total of 18,507,000 and down 500 from the employment total in September
- Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 913,600 in September, an increase of 18,600 over the month and up 144,100 in comparison to September 2022.
Employment and Unemployment in California
* Labor force by place of residence, including workers involved in trade disputes.
Unemployment Insurance Claims (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The following data is from a sample week that includes the 19th of each month: In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 368,452 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the September 2023 sample week. That compares to 394,757 people in August and 294,085 people in September 2022. Concurrently, 37,863 initial claims were processed in the September 2023 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 111 claims from August, but a year-over increase of 3,362 claims from September 2022.
Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted)
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Applying for benefits, before you apply.
Your first step is to submit an initial claim in order for DEW to determine if your circumstances meet the eligibility requirements of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined.
In order to become eligible and remain eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits , you must:
- Have lost your job through no fault of your own.
- Report any income earned during a claim week.
- Continue to actively search for work .
- Be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work during a claim week.
- Accept any suitable offer of work you receive.
Unemployment Insurance is a temporary program to ease the gap between unemployment and reemployment. It is not meant to replace earnings from a job. If you receive a job referral from our agency you must contact the employer, and you must accept any suitable offer of work. If you do not, you may disqualify yourself from UI and your benefits will be turned off.
Filing your claim will go faster if you have the following important information handy:
- Your Social Security number.
- Employers’ business names,
- Employers’ addresses,
- Employers’ phone numbers and
- Your salary for each employer
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, your alien registration number and documentation.
- If you served in the military in the past 18 months, DD-214 Form (Member 4 copy).
- If you are a federal civilian employee, SF-50 (PDF) or SF-8 (PDF) Form.
- Remember: You apply for Unemployment Insurance where your employer resides or where wages are earned and NOT where you have residence
Initial claims are filed online through the MyBenefits portal . Use our guides to learn more about using the portal. If you need further assistance call our toll-free number 1-866-831-1724 | Relay 711.
Step 1: Create your MyBenefits Portal Account
Watch the video on how to create an account in the MyBenefits portal.
Register for an Account Instructions (PDF)
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ID.me User Guide | (Español) (PDF)
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Frequently Asked Questions About ID.me
How to Reset Your MyBenefits Portal Username/Password & Update Security Preferences
Step 2: File a New Claim
Watch the File a New Claim Video on this page for instructions.
File a New Claim Instructions (PDF)
Before any benefits can be paid, an unpaid waiting period equivalent to one full week of unemployment benefits must be served. This requirement was waived by DEW in March 2020 due to the pandemic, however, the expiration of the state of emergency in June 2021 results in the waiting week being reinstated. Effective claim week ending June 19, 2021, claimants will be required to serve the unpaid waiting period.
Step 3: File Your Weekly Claim
Watch the File Your Weekly Claim Video on this page for instructions.
Weekly Certifications Instructions (PDF)
Step 4: Complete Two Weekly Job Searches in SCWOS
As of April 18, 2021, claimants are required to complete two weekly job searches in SCWOS (SC Works Online Services). Claimants are required to complete this each week, by law, in order to remain eligible for UI benefits.
SCWOS Weekly Job Searches PDF Tutorial | (Español) (PDF)
Don’t have a SCWOS account? Register with SCWOS Video Tutorial
Stopping UI Benefits Once You're Re-Employed
When you become re-employed and earn more than your weekly benefit amount , you must end benefits.
Ending benefits is easy. Simply stop filing weekly claims. You may still be eligible for benefits if you are making less than your weekly benefit amount. Always report your weekly wages to ensure you are not obtaining benefits illegally. Unsure of what earnings to report weekly?
Check out the Earnings Worksheet (PDF) .
Need to know: It is your responsibility to report all wages earned and keep accurate records. DEW routinely audits weekly claims and if you are found to be overpaid for benefits, you will receive an overpayment notice . DEW employs several measures to recoup the outstanding debt, including wage withholding, intercepting state income tax returns and intercepting federal income tax returns.
When you apply for unemployment benefits, you establish an active unemployment account for 52 weeks. These 12 months (which may be different than a calendar year) are referred to as a benefit year. You may receive benefits during the benefit year, provided you meet all eligibility requirements until your benefit year expires or you receive the total maximum benefit amount assigned to your claim, whichever comes first .
If you exhaust all of the available state and/or federal programs there are no additional benefits available to you within that benefit year. It's important to understand, benefits will not automatically be available in a new benefit year. Under current law, in order to be eligible for UI benefits again, you must meet the following requirements:
✔️ You must earn at least eight (8) times your weekly benefit amount, from a new employer who pays into the UI Trust Fund. ✔️ You must be laid off by no fault of your own (meaning you didn't quit or were fired). ✔️ And, you must re-apply for benefits, but only after you meet the above requirements and after your benefit year has ended.
Did your employer file for you?
If your employer filed for unemployment benefits on your behalf, you are still responsible to certify weekly. To learn what you have to do to ensure you receive benefits, read Employer Filed Claims (PDF) .
Apply for and certify your claim here.
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