Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board

Surprising Though Still Modest Job Strength

Dec 07, 2012, 09:07 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The labor market continued to improve in November, generating 146,000 new jobs, providing some needed boost to recovering consumer sentiment. Indeed, the gain on the month would have been even better if not for the mildly restraining impact from Super Storm Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff. Domestically, the manufacturing sector continues to show some limited traction as sluggish foreign economic growth weighs on the sector. Despite a revival in the housing sector, construction declined, possibly as a result of the storm. The rise in retail jobs was boosted by an earlier start to the holiday season, but this pace of gain is not likely to persist as we head into 2013. More demand might also counter business concern about adding to the cost structure even while profit margins are under pressure. Demand is the key to sustaining progress in the labor market and a rise in wage growth may be the key to generating more demand.

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