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

Has the Job Market Slipped into a Temporary Pause?

Jan 10, 2014, 09:14 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A gain of only 74,000 new jobs in December stands in contrast to the strengthening posted in other major economic data, suggesting the dip in hiring might prove temporary. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators and the results from the latest survey of purchasing managers are two economic readings that suggest employment gains will rebound in the New Year. With some resolution of the budget battles and the questions about the future course of monetary and fiscal policy, consumers and businesses will feel less need for caution and put some long delayed plans into action in the early months of 2014. Also, The Conference Board CEO Challenge Survey 2014 and The Conference Board CEO Confidence Index, which were published earlier this week, point at greater optimism among business executives. Indeed, consumers already started along that path in Q4, with real consumer spending poised to come in at a much improved 4 percent annualized growth rate. However, low wage growth remains a problem for consumers. Low pricing power remains a big problem for business. These factors do not preclude an actual pick-up, but only how much pick up in job growth can be expected.

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