U.S. Unemployment rate drops to 8.6 percent in November

The national unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, with 120,000 new jobs added in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

“The number of unemployed persons, at 13.3 million, was down by 594,000,” Bureau analysts wrote.

The National Employment Law Project responded to the news by calling for more action on the jobs front. “this level of job creation is no match for the dire employment situation in the country.

“The private-sector growth of 140,000 jobs and continued losses in the public sector mean we are still a long ways off from rebuilding a battered economy and restoring opportunity for Americans,” said NELP Executive Director Christine Owens. “Distressingly, 315,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month, reflecting continued worker discouragement.”

The Labor Statistics report adds that among “the major worker groups” the unemployment rate for adult men was 8.3 percent and 7.8 percent for adult women in November.

The jobless rate for whites declined to 7.6 percent, while it was 23.7 percent for teenagers, 15.5 percent for blacks, 11.4 percent for Hispanics and 6.5 percent for Asians (not seasonally adjusted).

The report adds that employment continued to trend up in retail trade, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care, while government employment continued to drop.

Florida job growth in 2011 has been highly concentrated in leisure and hospitality, specifically accommodation and food services and health care.

According to the Employment Law Project, “job growth since the official end of the recession has been heavily concentrated in lower-wage sectors like retail and food services and drinking places, which together accounted for about two-thirds of jobs gains last month as we entered the holiday season.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that Colorado added nearly 9,000 jobs in October. The state added 33,000 jobs between October 2010 and October 2011. The unemployment rate in the state in October was 8.1 percent when the national rate was 9 percent. The highest monthly historical unemployment rate in Colorado, according to the Bureau, came in February 2011, when it was 9.3 percent.