The big job growth slowdown
While one can blame Katrina for the amazingly weak US job growth figures in September and October, there is no natural disaster to save us from the December job numbers released today.
Job growth slowed in December — following a big hiring spurt in November — with employers expanding payrolls by just 108,000, underscoring the sometimes choppy path traveled by job seekers. . . .The seasonally unadjusted tally for private sector jobs in December was -197,000, the worst December since 2002. This follows on the heels of the worst September since 2001 and the worst October since 2002. Since Katrina hit, the US has added 416,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs. But of course, nobody actually works an SA job. The NSA tally of actual jobs in the US since Katrina is -162,000 -- the worst September-December stretch since 2002.
December's gain of 108,000 jobs was about half of what economists were expecting. Before the release of the report, they were forecasting employers to add around 200,000 positions during the month.
Job losses in construction, retail and transportation helped to blunt job gains in manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health services, government and elsewhere.
For all of 2005, the economy added 2 million jobs — a solid amount and about the same as last year. The unemployment rate averaged 5.1 percent last year, an improvement from the 5.5 percent average registered in 2004.
No wonder the US economy is dependent on debt-fuelled consumption.