Economy Adds 211,000 Jobs

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added over 200,000 jobs in November. The numbers were also adjusted upward for the two previous months. Unemployment fell slightly to a flat 5%, down from right around 5.1%.

The government sector also expanded last month, adding 14,000 new jobs to the economy. It was outpaced by retail, which added 31,000 new jobs, and construction which added 46,000 new positions.

The jobs numbers come at a critical time for the economy, which is heading into the winter retail season as we speak. In fact, the retail sector was one of the largest growth points, along with construction.
Both sectors added jobs at more than twice the rate of the rest of the economy.

Black Friday and the winter shopping season in general have come together to give a big jolt to the jobless numbers. Seasonal spending is predicted to be higher than normal in some sectors -- like toys and electronics -- but lower than average in general.

Americans are spending more on big-ticket items than they were in previous quarters. Car sales are at decade-long highs, and more new homes are being bought and sold. That comes despite news that wages are stagnant, growing by only 2.2% over the previous month.

Despite stagnant wages, the value of the US dollar has boomed, offsetting some of the problem. It’s grown by 13% year to date, and is expected to keep rising. It’s not just the dollar getting stronger, though. Foreign currencies are getting weaker, amplifying the buying power of each dollar. Import goods are cheaper than ever, and the trend isn’t expected to reverse any time soon.

Of course, the strong dollar does have some negative effects too. For instance, multinationals and other companies which export American goods are finding them more and more costly relative to overseas currencies. That’s led to a slowdown in exports, and has hurt the jobs outlook in some sectors.

Manufacturing also continues to be a sore spot, shedding over 1,000 jobs this past month and struggling in general to make a profit. Although there is more than one soft sector in this economy, the net picture is one of growth and gains. The Dow is nearing the 18,000 point mark which it attained before the slow summer, and things are looking up as we head into the holidays.
Published on Dec 5, 2015
By Aaron Phillips
Aaron Phillips is a financial researcher and journalist based out of Michigan. He regularly writes the IG Daily and IG Weekly columns.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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