Friday, December 7, 2012

Four Takeaways from Today's Jobs Report

Four Takeaways From November's Jobs Report interprets the situation both succinctly and accurately:

"The economy added 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. Economists are still digesting today’s report, but here are four initial takeaways:

So much for that Sandy effect: Superstorm Sandy was widely expected to push up unemployment and, more generally, to wreak havoc on the jobs numbers. Neither appears to have happened. The economy added 146,000 jobs in November, right about its recent average, and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008. . . .

Broadly positive report: Retailers added 53,000 jobs, continuing a run of recent gains. The number also may have been boosted by an early Thanksgiving, which made holiday hiring show up earlier than usual. Restaurants and hotels also added workers, as did wholesalers, and professional service firms hired a healthy 43,000 workers. The health care sector, which has added to payrolls throughout the recovery, did so again, adding 20,000 jobs. The main bad news came in construction, which cut 20,000 jobs, and manufacturing, which was more or less flat. . . .

Bad news in the revisions: November’s data easily beat economists’ expectations, but the good news was tempered somewhat by downward revisions to payroll figures from September and October. Together, the revisions wiped out 49,000 jobs. Perhaps more of a concern is that economists often watch the direction of the revisions for signs of where the job market is heading: Figures are often revised upward in an improving economy and downward in a worsening one. In recent months, the trend had been for upward revisions, but not this time.

Right on trend: The economy has now added an average of 139,000 jobs per month over the past three months. Over the past six months? 139,000 jobs per month. Over the past year? 157,000. In other words, for all the talk of economic starts and stops, employers are creating jobs at a remarkably consistent pace. It’s a much slower pace than most people — including policymakers at the Federal Reserve — would like to see, but it’s been enough to bring down the unemployment rate by a full point over the past year."

Summing Up

All in all, another boring and consistent set of numbers. At least they're not bad.

We'll hope they don't get worse in the months ahead.

And as Forrest Gump liked to end whatever story he was telling at the time, "That's all I have to say about that."

Thanks. Bob.

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