In the first jobs report since the election, the Labor Department says a record number of people–152,085,000–were employed in November in the United States, but a record 95,055,000 Americans were not in the labor force–446,000 more than October.
The employment growth pushed the unemployment rate down from 4.9 percent in October to 4.6 percent in November.
The number of unemployed Americans dropped in November to 7,400,000, the lowest of the Obama presidency. But the labor force participation rate also dropped a tenth of a point to 62.7 percent in November.
It should be noted that the Labor Department’s Employment Situation report is released monthly, and it reflects data gathered in the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. So today’s report reflects the situation as it was just days after the Nov. 8 election.
Since the election, the stock market has risen to new heights; consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, increased “significantly” in November; existing-home sales rose for a second straight month in October at the highest annualized pace in nearly a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors; and personal income increased a healthy 0.6 percent in October, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
When President Obama took office — amid a recession — in January 2009, 80,529,000 Americans were not in the labor force, and that number rose steadily during his two terms, reaching 94,708,000 this past May, a record eclipsed in November. And the labor force participation rate, a key measure of labor force activity, reached a 38-year low of 62.4 percent on Obama’s watch, in September 2015. It’s only 0.3 percent higher than that now.
Nevertheless, White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday offered some “metrics” to help reporters “judge the performance” of the incoming Trump administration.
“The first would be jobs,” Earnest said. “Under President Obama and under the strategy that we have implemented, our economy has seen the largest streak of total job growth in our nation’s history.