The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment situation report for November, and the numbers are looking as good as they have been for the past several months. The report shows positive movement overall, and most underlying sectors are also maintaining their strong movement that has been seen recently.
After bumping up to 7.9% in October, the overall unemployment rate has dropped slightly to 7.7%. While not a substantial movement back to the levels a healthy economy would like to see, it is in line with the slow and steady recovery we have seen the past two years.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November. This brings the average for 2012 to an increase of 151,000 jobs per month. Basically the same as we had seen in 2011 where the average increase was 153,000. A big boost in November’s increase was the retail sector which rose by 53,000. Combined with September and October, the retail sector has added 141,000 jobs in the last three months.
Wage inflation was a firm .2%, a number that most analysts agreed would be the case. With wages slowly increasing, and the average workweek holding firm at 34.4 hours, jobs are looking good.
The biggest item on most people’s minds how Hurricane Sandy affected the job market and the employment situation. The BLS reports that the hurricane actually had minimal effects. Due to the hurricane many people were not working, however, they still had jobs. As soon as the damages in their area were repaired they were able to get back to those jobs that they had.
The strong retail employment increase during the last three months shows that holiday sales for 2012 are strong. Other surveys have confirmed this notion.
Overall, Americans are getting back to work. The economy is moving in the right direction, albeit still moving a little slow. But people are finding work, and holding on to their jobs. More jobs means more people are earning an income and able to spend that money. More spending means a higher GDP and more economic movement. A higher GDP and more economic movement leads to more job creation. One thing always affects the other, and when one part of the cycle does well, the others are sure to follow. And as much of the economic news lately has shown, the cycle is moving in the right direction and the recovery is progressing.