A modest, dare we say promising, jobs report today says that unemployment dropped to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent in November, with the economy adding 203,000 jobs. The trend of steady growth continues, despite the government shutdown. There was an uptick in transportation and warehousing, health care and manufacturing employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But as the Brookings Institution’s Justin Wolfers notes, long-term unemployment remains a problem with no solution on the horizon:
CHART: Long-term unemployment. This is the problem we still haven't solved. If we don't soon, it'll stick with us. pic.twitter.com/QZOvcewmAK— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) December 6, 2013
Though the unemployment rate dropped slightly, the number of long-term unemployed Americans — those with 27 weeks or more of continuous unemployment — remained unchanged at 4.1 million in November. (The long-term unemployed account for 37.3 percent of the country’s total unemployed.) So while there has been continuous, albeit modest, growth, the labor market hasn’t fully healed. Just ask those 4.1 million people.
But it’s hard to ignore the 203,000 jobs that the economy did add. Transportation and warehousing added 31,000 jobs, 9,000 of which went to couriers and messengers. The health care industry — which staunch conservatives will tell you is doomed because of Obamacare — added 28,000 jobs, though nursing care facilities lost 4,000 jobs. And manufacturing, every politician’s favorite locale for a campaign stop, added 27,000 jobs.
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Bill Bradley is based in Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in The Daily, Bloomberg Businessweek, GQ.com and Vanity Fair, among others. Follow him on Twitter @billbradley3.