Stable but Slow,
Despite ADP’s optimistic report of 215,000 new private sector jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor reported gains of 168,000 in private payrolls, which was slightly higher than analysts’ forecasts. The overall growth in employment including government cutbacks netted an increase of 155,000. November payrolls were revised upward.
The goods-producing sector rebounded by 59,000 in December after a loss of 1,000 in November. Construction jobs also showed gains of 30,000 following a November dip of 10,000. Manufacturing increased 25,000 over a small increase of 5,000 the month before.
The services sector’s growth slowed and government jobs decreased by 13,000.
Unemployment held steady at 7.8 percent.
Analysts speculate that overall the labor market improvement may be gaining some traction, especially if uncertainty over the fiscal cliff eases.
The Christian Science Monitor’s article “Jobs report finds little overall progress. Why is recovery so slow?” puts forth four reasons for the slow pace of recovery from the Great Recession:
• Recoveries after a financial crisis, when a nation is struggling with high debt burdens, tend to be protracted, many economists say. That shows up in various areas of the economy. Debt-strapped consumers boost their spending at a slower pace. Home construction doesn’t rebound the way it normally would, thanks to the aftereffects of the housing bust. Federal and state governments are looking at lean tax revenues and aren’t hiring.
• The long-term trend of eliminating middle-wage, middle-skill jobs through automation. This is a gradual process, but its effects may show up prominently in the wake of recessions.
• Decline in US competitiveness. Job growth would be stronger if the nation were better maintaining the strength of US manufacturers against global rivals, argue some analysts including the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington.
• A downshift in demand for jobs. The idea here is that job growth is partly a function of how many people want to work, and in the United States, the “participation rate” in the labor force has been falling since about 2001. A key question is how much of this is due to discouragement, as people who fail to find jobs stop looking, and how much is caused by other factors.
Do you agree with this assessment?
Glassdoor reports employee optimism “Almost Half of U.S. Workers Optimistic for First Half of 2013“.
According to the Q4 Employment Confidence Survey almost half of employees expect their company’s outlook to remain the same. One third of employed respondents said they will consider looking for a new job within the year so long as the economy stays the same or improves, and almost one fifth plan to look for a new job in the next three months.
What is the case in your company?