Labor market surprisingly resilient after Sandy
Friday's payroll report isn't as bad as expected, but isn't all that good either.
Updated 12:30 p.m. ET
The economic impact of Superstorm Sandy might not be as bad as some experts had expected, but the economy still is struggling. The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. private sector employers added 146,000 jobs in November, far more than economists had expected. That caused unemployment to fall to 7.7%, its lowest level since December 2008.
Wall Street was pleased with the report and pushed stocks up in midday trading. Investors, though, shouldn't confuse a less-bad-than-expected jobs report with a good jobs report. Indeed, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 12 million. Also, the BLS revised down jobs figures in both September and October by 49,000 jobs, although revisions to jobs figures are common.
Economists had expected a gain of 85,000 jobs following a revised lower gain of 138,000 in October, according to Bloomberg News. The upside surprise seems to have come from Sandy, which devastated much of the Northeast coastline, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics "did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."
The payroll number was below the 151,000 average gain seen for the year and the 153,000-per-month average seen in 2011. According to the BLS, the average work week was unchanged at 34.4 hours. Average hourly earnings rose to $23.59. The unemployment rates among adult men, women, teenagers, whites and Hispanics held steady. Retail trade, professional and business services, and health care posted job gains.
There are some signs of hope for U.S. jobs: Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook surprised investors Thursday by saying that the company planned to build some Mac computers in the U.S. The U.S. job market, though, continues to face challenges.
But Wall Street continues to retrench. Citigroup (C) Thursday announced plans to lay off 11,000 workers and many analysts expect more to come. Also worrisome -- unemployment will spike if Congress fails to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Fiscal cliff worries appear to be weighing on consumers. A well regarded measure of consumer confidence took a fall in early December to a four-month low. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer mood reading plummeted to 74.5 in early December from 82.7 a month earlier.
Even if that calamity is dodged, the best that Americans can expect is slow and steady progress in the jobs market. It may "win the race," but it's a pretty frustrating slog for those looking for work.
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Once again we hear the happy, happy news that the unemployment numbers are falling. Oh joy! Too bad the actual numbers, unsuprisingly, are absent.
As others have mentioned, those unemployed for long periods and still looking for work aren't counted. Why not? Unemployment should mean NOT EMPLOYED. Saying more people are working is a whitewash. How many of those finding work are finding REAL jobs, jobs that someone can live on? Why are we hearing people are being employed yet it's also a fact the average worker's value has dropped to decades long lows and more of the american population is plunging toward poverty? Why are companies allowed to use the WalMart plan - low pay and training employees how to get government assistance rather than company paying the benefits? All these Underemployed should also be counted in any employment report. This is the real picture.
How many of these 'jobs' are padded with 'undocumented workers' or imported labor on government issued visas? Corporations hand jobs to people from foriegn nations who don't make enough to buy the goods and services they produce. They swell the population and cause increased burden to already overstretched government services. In the meantime, the actual american population is forced to turn to the government for assistance .
No one notices america burns while the businessmen fiddles?
How stupid does Obama think we are?
Stupid enough to vote him in again.
Don't you just love the deception of the jobs report. When 350000 people stop looking for work and are no longer counted and you only add 146000 to the work force, my math tells me that a net jobs loss of 204000 actually happened.
it's not good at all.
a lot of unemployed people have lost all of their ui and aren't being counted in the official numbers.
the largest waves of layoffs were from 2008-2011. people let go in 2011 have exhausted their ui by now.
i think a better picture will come from the 2012 census, which asks questions about a person's recent employment status.
if you got the package, which you should have, and you're out of work, be sure to fill it out and send it in.
that's the only way your situation will officially register.
12/4/12 11:30 a.m.
Updated: Number of individuals who have run out of benefits is now over 913,100 in California Alone.....Wake up folks the news is lying.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market welcomed the new trading week with a mixed session that saw relative strength among large-cap stocks, while high-beta names underperformed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.3%) and S&P 500 (-0.1%) finished near their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 both lost 1.1%.
Equities began the day on a cautious note amid continued concerns regarding the strength of the global economy. Over the weekend, China reported its first decline ... More
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Stocks drift lower and bonds are hit as investors await the Fed. Prepare for higher volatility this week.
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