The latest jobs report from the US Labor Department shows a decrease in the unemployment rate, from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, with 146,000 jobs added in November. Experts had predicted that 85,000 jobs would be added.
However, the report indicates that 350,000 people have stopped looking for work, and the number of people who said they had a job decreased by 122,000.
“Add it all up, and the conclusion is this: The trend that we thought was underway — of a U.S. economy growing steadily but at an unspectacular pace — remains underway, and was not undone either by the hurricane or by anxiety over looming austerity — the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a deal,” The Washington Post says.
This contradicts Wednesday’s ADP National Report, which fell below forecaster predictions. Sandy was directly tied to the less-then-expected showing. ADP draws on information from its customers to calculate its figures.
The Labor Department says the biggest gains were made in retail (53,000 jobs), professional and business services (43,000), and leisure and hospitality (23,000).
Still, for the black population, the unemployment rate is well above average. Labor Department numbers put the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 13.2 percent for African Americans, a decrease from 14.3 percent in November. Not seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate is 12.7 percent, down from 13.8 percent.
James Glassman, a senior economist at JP Morgan Chase, told Bloomberg that the rate of payroll growth “is too slow to make much of a dent into the pool of unemployed, but it’s steady and persistent.” The newswire says Thanksgiving retail hiring at places like Macy’s and Toys ‘R Us were up.