Jobs data lifts US growth hopes
Washington, January 4, 2013
US private-sector employers stepped up hiring in December, suggesting some momentum in the economy as the year ended, even as a budget crisis loomed.
While other data yesterday showed an increase in the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits, the trend remained consistent with steady job growth, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf daily News.
"The underlying economy has momentum, and the employment data confirms that. The hope and prayer of the market is that our political leaders don't screw it up," said John Brady, managing director at R J O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.
The ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added 215,000 jobs last month, comfortably above economists' expectation of a 133,000 gain. The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
In a separate report, the Labour Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 last week. However, claims data for nine states, including California and Virginia, was estimated because of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labour market trends, rose 250 to 360,000.
The government is expected to report today that employers added 150,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, little changed from 146,000 in November, according to a survey of economists. The jobless rate is seen holding at 7.7 per cent.
A third report showed planned layoffs at US firms fell in December for the first time in four months, while the overall job-cut total in 2012 was the lowest since 1997.
However, some major US retailers had a tough December, with chains like Target and Family Dollar feeling the pinch as consumers were cautious in their holiday spending.
The economy took a toll on shoppers in the most important quarter of the year for retailers. The holiday season was never expected to be stellar, but even the single-digit growth anticipated by chains and analysts came under pressure. – TradeArabia News Service
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