The unemployment gap between skilled and unskilled workers has been shrinking.

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Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Overall unemployment rose to 3.9% in December as more would-be workers — including those with less education — entered the workforce.

  • The unemployment rate for those 25 and older without a high school diploma is holding near historic lows, while unemployment hit 3.8% in December for those with a high school diploma — higher than November, but still close to the lowest rate we've seen in decades.

What to watch: The recovery is consistently helping less-educated workers find jobs, but cracks are beginning to show in industries like manufacturing, which are likely to hire them. Per the latest reading of the ISM manufacturing index, manufacturing activity slowed to a two-year low, thanks to softening demand.

In November, unemployment dropped for those without a high school diploma and high school dropouts, and it edged higher for people who were more educated.

What's going on: Job growth has been faster in low wage industries and slower in high wage industries, giving a boost to less skilled workers, William Spriggs, AFL-CIO's chief economist, points out.

  • The tightest labor market since 1969 is forcing companies to consider workers they may have overlooked when the unemployed pool provided more options. The forgotten job seekers — with lower levels of education — are benefiting from companies' hunger for labor, as Axios Future Editor Steve LeVine notes.
  • Walt Disney and Yum Brands, for instance, are offering upfront college tuition for their less-educated employees, "reversing the norm that requires workers to get the degree before launching a career," the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
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McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.