Following on the heels of yesterday’s report of an unexpected increase in the number of new jobless individuals and lackluster post-Thanksgiving retail sales, today we learn that a mediocre 112k new non-farm jobs were created in November:
U.S. employers pulled back on hiring as they entered the holiday shopping season, adding just 112,000 new jobs overall in November. It was the weakest gain in five months and about half of what economists had forecast.
Employers’ payrolls have expanded by 2.3 million since August 2003, but the monthly pace has been sluggish. Analysts had predicted in advance of Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report that approximately 200,000 new jobs were created last month. Even October’s blockbuster showing was tempered a bit in revised figures. The department lowered from 337,000 to 303,000 its previous estimate of new jobs during that month.
New hiring in the service sector fueled November’s overall jobs increase, led by health care, restaurants and hotels. But retailers lost jobs, their payrolls falling by 16,200 last month.
The manufacturing sector continued to shed jobs last month, losing 5,000 from its payrolls. The nation’s factories, in a long slump, have failed to jump-start hiring in the face of rising competition from low-wage countries such as China.
The weaker-than-expected employment report could fuel concerns that the labor market recovery is stalling. Economists say employers should be adding more than 200,000 new jobs or more each month, just to keep pace with population growth. Since August 2003, monthly job creation has averaged 152,000.
I don’t have to have the education or expertise of a DeLong, Atrios, or even Giblets to understand that when the retail sector sheds 16,200 jobs in November my Bush Boom won’t be home for Christmas. And an economy that generates on average 50,000 fewer jobs than is needed simply to keep up with population growth is failing.