Staying Power

The layoff rate for American workers is at an all-time low

American workers are living the high life. That’s according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, which studied Labor Department stats to find that the odds of a worker getting laid off are at historic lows. In other words, if you have a job, you’re likely to keep it. That’s some pretty good news for those with jobs (the jobs report was great in July too, adding 209,000 jobs).

The Journal found that last month, there were 66 new unemployment benefit claims for every 10,000 people in the workforce. That’s the lowest number of unemployment claims made during a month since 1967, when the Labor Department started tracking the stat. The previous low was in 2000, when the layoff rate was 83 for every 10,000 workers. Not to be outdone by the layoff rate, the unemployment rate has also been staying consistently low. For the past two years, the unemployment rate has been below five percent. That’s the lowest the rate has consistently been since 2007. For comparison’s sake, when the nation was in the depths of the recession during 2009 and 2010, the unemployment rate hovered between nine and 10 percent.

The layoff rate hitting a historic low is obviously only good news if you already have a job. It’s something to keep in mind — hey, all things being equal, job security is looking good. However, there is one thorn in this rose: The labor force participation rate, which tracks the percentage of Americans with jobs. That rate has been below 63 percent since 2013. In the late 90s through early 2000s, that rate was right around 66 percent. That means for the past few years, more people aren’t in the workforce. Clearly there is more work to be done. Pun intended.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea