December 7, 2012
The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, slightly better than October's gain. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.
Hiring at about 150,000 a month usually doesn't push down the unemployment rate so much. Why did the rate fall that far?
Because the government does one survey to learn how many jobs were created and another survey to determine the unemployment rate. Those surveys can sometimes produce different results.
One is called the payroll survey. It asks mostly large companies and government agencies how many people they employed during the month. This survey produces the number of jobs gained or lost. In November, the payroll survey showed that companies added 147,000 jobs, and federal, state and local governments shed 1,000.
The other is the household survey. Government workers ask whether the adults in a household have a job. Those who don't are asked whether they're looking for one. If they are, they're considered unemployed. If they aren't, they're not considered part of the work force and aren't counted as unemployed. The household survey produces each month's unemployment rate.
Republican Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) said the dropping unemployment rate doesn't tell the whole story. He released a statement saying:
"While any drop in unemployment numbers is encouraging news, we are discouraged by the growing number of Americans who are giving up the search for work due to a downtrodden economy throughout the past four years. Fifth District Virginians have struggled through unacceptably high unemployment for too long, and the looming prospect of tax hikes on all Americans at the year's end only further threatens our fragile economy. It is time for Washington to come together to address the great challenges that we face. We must return to our founding principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty, to put an end to the reckless spending and get Americans back to work. More stimulus style spending will not create jobs for 5th District Virginians; we must first focus on creating certainty for our small businesses by keeping taxes low and reducing our debt so they may create the jobs that this country so desperately needs."
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