The jobs report for the month of November was released on Friday morning and it said that the economy added 146,000 jobs for the month as the unemployment rate for the nation fell to 7.7 percent, which is the lowest since December of 2008. According to the government, Superstorm Sandy had a small effect on the jobs numbers for November.
The report said that hiring in the country remained steady during and after the storm as well as in the face of coming tax increases. The government also noted that employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in the months of October and September than what was originally thought. In November, the unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low from 7.9 percent in October. The reason for the drop in the rate was that people stopped looking for jobs, which means they are no longer counted as unemployed in the data.
The government did acknowledge signs that Superstorm Sandy had an effect on the economy as construction employment decreased by 20,000. The weather on the East Coast prevented 369,000 people from getting to their jobs, which is the highest total in close to two years. All of those workers were still counted as employed though.
Since the month of July, the economy has gained on average, 158,000 jobs per month. This is a slight increase from 146,000 in the year’s first six months. The increase in the added jobs could mean that employers are not delaying their hiring choices in preparation for the fiscal cliff.
There were 53,000 jobs added by retailers and 18,000 jobs added in temporary help companies. There were 18,000 jobs added in education and health care. Auto manufacturing companies added close to 10,000 jobs. Manufacturing jobs overall dropped by 7,000, which was caused by the loss of 12,000 jobs in manufacturing that could reflect the jobs lost at Hostess. A total of 24 states, most in the Northeast, suffered from Superstorm Sandy in the retail, business and restaurant sectors. Those companies had to close their doors in late October and early November.
For the quarter of July to September, the economy in the United States grew by 2.7 percent annually. Economists claim that the rate is slowing down to 1.5 percent in the quarter of October to December. The economists also said that the 1.5 percent rate is not enough growth in the economy to drop the unemployment rate.
The government said that because of Superstorm Sandy, wages and salaries for the month of October dropped by close to $18 billion at an annual rate. Consumer spending also dropped as a result of the storm.