US adds 146,000 jobs in Nov, jobless rate falls to 7.7%

07 December 2012 14:22  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US added 146,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department said on Friday, lower than October’s jobs growth of 171,000 but better than many economists had expected and enough to lower the jobless rate to 7.7%.

The unemployment rate had edged up to 7.9% in October from the September reading of 7.8%.

Some economists had expected very low jobs growth in November, perhaps as little as 50,000, because of the impact of Hurricane Sandy which struck the upper East Coast at the end of October, causing widespread damage.

The most heavily damaged areas, including major population centres and industrial concentrations in New York and New Jersey, were without power for extended periods, causing business shutdowns and putting people out of work temporarily.

But if Sandy did have an impact on November’s job numbers, it appears to have been minimal.

“Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November,” the department said in its monthly report.

Although the 146,000 new jobs added last month are better than expected, that pace of employment expansion is still too low.

The US economy must add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to accommodate young people entering the workforce for the first time.

To make any significant headway against the still-high unemployment figure, economists say the nation will have to generate 300,000 jobs per month or more for multiple quarters.

The department noted that since the beginning of this year, monthly jobs growth has averaged 151,000, which is slightly less than the 153,000 average monthly employment expansion seen in 2011.

The 7.7% jobless rate is significantly better than November 2010 when it was nearly 9% and November 2010 when unemployment was just shy of 10%.

The report said that most of the new hires in November were in retail trade, health care and professional and business services.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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