November Jobs Report: Hiring Up, Unemployment Rate Falls -- Despite Sandy

November jobs report hiring

By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.

The Labor Department's report Friday offered a mixed picture of the economy. Hiring remained steady during the storm and in the face of looming tax increases. But the government said employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than it initially estimated.

And the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed.

The report "is something of a mixed bag but, on balance, it's a positive," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

Sandy's effect on the figures was much smaller than many analysts had predicted. The government noted that as long as employees worked at least one day during a pay period -- two weeks for most people -- its survey would have counted them as employed.

Still, there were signs that the storm disrupted economic activity. Construction employment dropped 20,000. And weather prevented 369,000 people from getting to work -- the most for any month in nearly two years. These workers were still counted as employed.

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Stock futures jumped after the report. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 20 points in the minutes before the report came out at 8:30 a.m., and just afterward were up 70 points.

As money shifted into stocks, it moved out of safer bonds. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which moves opposite the price, rose to 1.63 percent from 1.58 percent just before the report was released.

Since July, the economy has added an average of 158,000 jobs a month. That's a modest pickup from a 146,000 average in the first six months of the year.

The job growth suggests that most employers aren't yet delaying hiring because of the "fiscal cliff." That's the combination of sharp tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect next year unless the White House and Congress reach a budget deal before then.

There is "no obvious impact from the looming fiscal cliff yet," Ashworth added, "but it could still have a greater effect on December's figures."

Last month, retailers added 53,000 positions. Temporary-help companies added 18,000, and education and health care also gained 18,000.

Auto manufacturers added nearly 10,000 jobs.

Still, overall, manufacturing jobs fell 7,000. That was pushed down by a loss of 12,000 jobs in food manufacturing that likely reflects the layoff of workers at Hostess.

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Sandy forced restaurants, retailers and other businesses to close in late October and early November in 24 states, particularly in the Northeast.

The U.S. grew at a solid 2.7 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. But many economists say growth is slowing to a 1.5 percent rate in the October-December quarter, largely because of the storm and threat of the fiscal cliff. That's not enough growth to lower the unemployment rate.

The storm held back consumer spending and income, which drive economic growth. Consumer spending declined in October and work interruptions caused by Sandy reduced wages and salaries that month by about $18 billion at an annual rate, the government said.

Still, many say economic growth could accelerate next year if the fiscal cliff is avoided. The economy is also expected to get a boost from efforts to rebuild in the Northeast after the storm.

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What the Obammy-soxers at the AP failed to report was that 73% of these new "jobs" were in the public sector. This means that taxpayers still employed in the private sector are further burdened. With "Boomers" retiring, government creating most of the new jobs, and the ranks of the permanently unemployed expanding, we have already gone over the cliff. A society in which 70% of people depend on the other 30% in some way is simply unsustainable. This cannot simply be blamed on a particular party or idealogy; we all are responsible. We are the brokest nation in human history and no amount of quantitative easing (read: money printing) will prevent us from eventually reaching our destiny. It's time we the people grow up and face this calamity like adults.

December 08 2012 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did the Democrat in California intentionally withhold his numbers again?

December 08 2012 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Say it isn't so!!! ABC's Diane Sawyer said just the opposite? Who are we to believe?? Sure as hell ain't the media!!!

December 07 2012 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I used to say, "It's Bush's fault." NOW I can proclaim that it is Congress' fault!!!

December 07 2012 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ONLY reason the rate dropped is because 350,000 more job seekers stopped looking for a job. Truth: the job market is getting worse!

December 07 2012 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Is there someone that can LIST aout 500 of the jobs, reportedly added since the last count? Or have we had MORE departments named and filled by the president, in order to cause the lower number of Unemployed?

December 07 2012 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder if all the states were reporting. The last time, they did not, and after the fact, they numbers were adjusted significantly upwards.

December 07 2012 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

they forgot to tell you , over 73% of the new jobs are government jobs ............. talk about incompetance , this president is the epitome of mediocrity

December 07 2012 at 2:52 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Numbers always look better when the prior months number gets adjusted downward.

December 07 2012 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Bottom line. If you believe this propoganda you an idiot and should not breed.

December 07 2012 at 2:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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