Jobless Rate Drops, Overtime and Temp Jobs Rise
WSJ -- U.S. job losses slowed sharply in November and the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined, in a sign the labor market is finally starting to heal as the economy recovers. Nonfarm payrolls fell by just 11,000 last month, slowing down from a downwardly revised 111,000 drop seen in October, as the recovery encouraged companies to retain workers, the Labor Department said Friday.
It was the best showing since December 2007, when payrolls rose by 120,000, said a Labor department official. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a payroll decrease of 125,000. The unemployment rate, calculated using a survey of households as opposed to companies, edged lower to 10% in November from 10.2%. Economists had forecast the jobless rate would remain at October's level of 10.2%, when it rose to the highest level since April 1983. Employment fell in construction, manufacturing and information, while temporary help services and health care added jobs.
MP: Two additional positive signs from today's employment report are: a) the increase in manufacturing overtime to 3.3 hours, the highest level since October 2008, and b) the increase in temporary help workers to the highest level since February 2009 (see graph above). Both of those signal a labor market that is slowly recovering, and strongly suggest that the worst is behind us.