Chad Stone is kind of a big deal. The Chief Economist at the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities recently discussed the October Jobs Report on Make It Plain with Mark Thompson. If your “economic knowledge” only stems from drooling over Olivia Munn’s financially savvy character in The Newsroom, you’re in luck. Stone keeps things simple. Here are some key takeaways from the report:

1.) Job creation rates are up, and unemployment rates are down.

“We’ve averaged 214,000 [jobs created] in October plus another 31,000 that got added to the previous two months – a total of 245,000. So we’re doing good on the job creation front,” Stone said. “We got a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent.”

2.) But, according to Stone, we are not yet in the clear from the Great Recession (yup, that’s a thing).

“We’ve already surpassed the previous level of payroll jobs at the start of the recession in December of 2007, so we’re doing well on that front – except for the fact that it’s been six years,” Stone said. “The population has grown and the potential labor force has grown, so we still have a ways to go to get back to a normal, high-employment labor market.

3.) The long-term unemployment struggle is real (and we don’t mean this ironically).

“Long-term unemployment is real. Almost a third of all the unemployed people have been looking for work for 27 weeks or more, a half year or longer. In many cases, much longer,” Stone said. “And these are people who are still actively looking for a job and counted as officially unemployed, as they haven’t been able to find one in at least six months. That’s 2.9 million people. It’s 1.9 percent of the labor force … It’s down, but it’s still, historically, a very high rate. We’ve never seen an unemployment rate stay so high for so long before.”

4.) Demographics play a role in the current state of the labor force participation rate (e.g. the number of people working or actively looking for work).

“We’re in a period now where the beginning of the baby boom generation is starting to retire or to reduce its labor force participation as a normal course of life experience,” Stone said. “But on top of that, the recession knocks people out of the labor force, and they have only been coming back slowly … Although October was good, [the labor force participation rate] was at a level we last saw prior to this recession back in the 1970s.”

5.) Average hourly earnings (aka wages) increased slightly in October.

“When unemployment was really high, the most important thing was ‘Are people getting jobs?'” Stone said. “Now that unemployment is going down, we’ve moved to the question of ‘Are they getting good jobs with decent wages?’ And we have a long way to go on that front.”

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“Make It Plain,” hosted by Matsimela Mapfumo-Mark Thompson, is a political, human rights, and breaking news program which airs on Sirius XM Progress 127, M-F, 6-9p ET. Follow us on

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