60 Straight Months of Unemployment at 7% or Higher

December 6, 2013 - 10:10 AM

House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meeting in the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(CNSNews.com) - November marked the 60th straight month that the seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate has run at 7 percent or higher, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment in November was 7.0 percent, said BLS. That was the lowest it has been since November 2008, but also extended the second longest streak of 7.0 percent or higher unemployment since the BLS started tracking national unemployment in 1948.

The longest streak of 7.0 percent or higher unemployment was the 68 months from May 1980 through December 1985.

Unemployment Chart

In November itself, the employment situation improved in the United States, with the unemployment rate dropping from 7.3 percent in October to 7.0 percent in November. The number of people actually employed rose from 143,568,000 in October to 144,386,000 in November, and the number of people not in the labor force dropped from 91,541,000 in October to 91,273,000. Also, the labor force participation rate rose from the 35-year low of 62.8 percent it hit in October to 63.0 percent in November.

The current streak of 60 months of 7 percent or higher unemployment began in December 2008.

In that December five years ago, there were 80,380,000 Americans not in the labor force—meaning they were civilians who were 16 or older and not institutionalized, but also not working or actively looking for work. This November, the 91,273,000 Americans not in the labor force represented an increase of 10,893,000 in five years.

In December 2008, the labor force participation rate—the percentage of people in the 16 or older civilian non-institutional population that were working or looking for a job—was 65.8 percent. The 63.0 percent labor force participation rate this November was 2.8 points below what it was five years ago.

In October 2008, there were 144,802,000 Americans who had jobs, according to BLS. This November, there were 144,386,000 Americans who had jobs—a decline of 416,000 jobs since October 2008.