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
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."
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."