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Economy in Brief

U.S. Payrolls Up
by Tom Moeller December 2, 2005

In November, non-farm payrolls posted the largest gain since July. The 215,000 increase matched Consensus expectations and followed a 44,000 October rise that was slightly lower than initially reported, but the September figure was revised to up 17,000 from a previously reported 8,000 drop.

From the household survey the unemployment rate held at 5.0%, as expected. Employment fell 52,000 (+1.6% y/y) after a 214,000 rise in October and the labor force rose 97,000 (1.3% y/y).

Factory sector payrolls increased 11,000 (-0.5% y/y). Together with a 15,000 worker rise in October, the figure marked the first time since early last year that factory payrolls have risen in consecutive months. Some improvement in the breadth across industries of job gains was suggested by the sector's one month diffusion index which rose to 51.8%, its highest level since July of last year.

Construction employment rose 37,000 (4.2% y/y), up a bit from the 28,000 average during the prior three months.

Payrolls in private service producing industries rose 144,000 (1.8% y/y) after a little revised 5,000 worker decline in October. Education & health services jobs increased 36,000 (2.2% y/y) and returned to the earlier pace after an October decline. Retail trade added 8,500 (0.7% y/y) jobs but a larger 29,000 (2.8% y/y) gain was posted by professional & business services. Jobs in financial services rose 13,000 (2.4% y/y) and leisure & hospitality recovered 29,000 (1.6% y/y) after two months of decline.

The gain in average hourly earnings eased to an expected 0.2% after the upwardly revised 0.6% spike in October. Factory sector earnings rose 0.2% (2.5% y/y) but private service sector earnings fell 0.1% (+3.4% y/y).

Today's remarks by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan on Budget Policy can be found here.

Employment Nov Oct Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Payroll Employment 215,000 44,000 1.5% 1.1% -0.3% -1.1%
  Manufacturing 11,000 15,000 -0.5% -1.2% -4.9% -7.2%
Average Weekly Hours 33.7 33.8 33.7 (Nov '04) 33.7 33.7 33.8
Average Hourly Earnings 0.2% 0.6% 3.2% 2.1% 2.7% 2.9%
Unemployment Rate 5.0% 5.0% 5.4% (Nov '04) 5.5% 6.0% 5.8%
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