November Jobs Report: Hiring Up, Unemployment Down Despite Sandy

Unemployment downBy 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 on Friday offered a mixed picture for 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 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.

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 in almost two years. They were still counted as employed.

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 after were up 70 points.

As money moved 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.

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

The increase suggests employers are not yet delaying hiring decisions because of the "fiscal cliff." That's the combination of sharp tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect next year without a budget deal.

Retailers added 53,000 positions while 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.

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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The economy is getting better in certain areas. Some good paying jobs have opened.

December 11 2012 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Holiday Hiring Anybody?

December 10 2012 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It seems like the economy is very much improving because many companies are hiring.

December 10 2012 at 1:56 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Once again President Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling. Senator Obama said that's irresponsible and shows a lack of leadership. He also said it's unpatriotic!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 09 2012 at 11:52 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has once again demonstrated that when it comes to budgets, he’s simply not serious and neither is his fellow partisan President Barack Obama. Yesterday, the Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell called for a vote on the budget outline (once again no bill) from Obama. This was immediately killed as a "stunt," which was Reid’s term for it.

Question: Does Reid actually want to pass any budget? He has not allowed a vote on any budget for years and will not propose one himself.


December 09 2012 at 11:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Harry Reid blocks vote on Obama’s fiscal cliff proposal

December 5, 2012 | 4:23 pm | Modified: December 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blocked a vote on President Obama’s proposal, articulated last week by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, saying that “there is no Geithner proposal.”


December 09 2012 at 11:42 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Republicans: GOP needs to get with the times

Yes they do and they need to tell Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Obama to stick their radical leftwing agenda where the sun doesn't shine.

December 09 2012 at 11:39 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Type your comment hereteapartyiswhacke
Debt Ceiling Bluff Called By Harry Reid, Leaving Mitch McConnell To Filibuster Himself

Harry Reid the obstructionist blocks Obama fiscal cliff plan. Harry won't even bring it up for a vote in the Senate. Harry and the democrats are realizing that Obamas out of control and don't agree with his radical off the wall agenda.

December 09 2012 at 11:37 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Evan thinks the more stupid copy and paste he posts, the better.

December 09 2012 at 10:12 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to freethedems2012's comment

He's such a dopey Obamite.

December 09 2012 at 11:49 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Hmmmmm,...I voted for Obama and didn't get a free cell phone. Another good lie from democrackso.

You already get foodstamps, section 8, cash benefits, and energy assistance checks. And you're upset that you didn't get a free cell phone?!!! Wow what an ungrateful freeloader.

December 09 2012 at 2:21 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply