UNDERSTANDING THE FACTORS BEHIND THE STRONG DECREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT
Since the number of unemployed persons decreased by 166 thousand and the number of employed persons increased by 354 thousand, the labor force grew by 188 thousand. As a result, the unemployment rate fell by 0.5 pp. to 9.7% in January. In August, the unemployment rate had last decreased to 9.7 percent, marking the beginning of a subsequent rise that culminated in reaching 10.2 percent by December. The seasonally adjusted female unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 pp to 13.7%, as female employment rose by 28 and unemployment dropped by 90 thousand. As for males, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 pp to 7.7%, following the increase in male employment (326 thousand) and the decrease in unemployment (62 thousand). Female labor force growth dropped by 62 thousand while the male labor force grew by 251 thousand in January. After December, there was a further decline in the female labor force level observed in January. It is evident that the significant decrease in the female unemployment rate can be attributed to the decline in the labor force rather than an increase in employment. Following these developments, the gender gap in the unemployment rates of females and males fell by 0.3 pp to 6.0% in November.