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

Labor Market Shows Surprising Strength, but Unlikely to be Maintained

Nov 08, 2013, 09:11 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The labor market seemed surprisingly strong during October, as evidenced by the gain of 204,000 new jobs created in October, despite the sequester and the partial government shutdown during the month. While the furloughed government workers technically should be counted as employed in the nonfarm payroll count as part of the establishment survey, at the same time they are counted as temporarily unemployed in the household survey. The negative impact from the partial government shutdown on the nonfarm payroll employment count doesn't seem to have affected the private sector at all. Despite the anemic Q3 GDP result, signals from the latest survey of purchasing managers and The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index could point to some optimism. However, with few more dollars in paychecks, and weak consumer confidence, employers are unlikely to be very optimistic and go out hiring many more workers. The key, especially during the holiday season, is sustained job gains in the "core" service sector, aside from the temporary hiring in the retail sector. Modest holiday purchasing intentions from The Conference Board Holiday Spending Survey don't provide much hope for a stronger outlook.

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