US unemployment rate at 5-year low

Painting a brighter picture of theAmerican economy, which is on a revival mode, the unemployment rate in the US has hit a five-year low, latest official figures have revealed.

“The unemployment rate declined from 7.3 per cent to 7 per cent in November, and total non-farm payroll employment rose by 203,000,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its monthly report.

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 10.9 million, and unemployment rate, at 7 per cent, declined in November, it said adding that among the unemployed, the number who reported being on temporary layoff decreased by 377,000.

This largely reflects the return to work of federal employees who were furloughed in October due to the partial government shutdown, it said.

“With solid job growth in November – in addition to strong data on manufacturing activity and auto sales – it is clear that the recovery continues to gain traction,” said Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“This report was yet another reminder of the resilience of America’s private sector following the disruptive government shutdown and debt limit brinkmanship in the first half of October. Nevertheless, today’s jobs numbers show that too many Americans who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer are still struggling to find jobs,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said as the economy continues to gather steam, now is not the time for Washington to put on the breaks.

“We need to make job-creating investments and replace meat-ax cuts with smart savings that reduce the deficit by closing wasteful tax loopholes. We also need to raise the minimum wage, because too many Americans who are working full-time are still struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

While these numbers are encouraging, the concern is that growth is happening in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them, said Republican Congressman Peter Roskam.

“An economy growing little by little can’t even keep up with new college graduates entering the workforce, let alone provide work and opportunity to the millions of Americans unemployed and underemployed in this difficult economy,” Roskam said.

“These job numbers are very encouraging. Yet, our nation needs even more robust and reliable job growth, which is why House Republicans have passed dozens of bills aimed towards that end,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.