The unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 7.7% in November, and the Wall Street Journal gives you permission to care a little less than usual. It calls today's report "the least important look at the labor market in about five years." That's because 1) Hurricane Sandy, holiday hiring, and the election futzed with the numbers; 2) the GOP and Democrats won't be as quick to jump on bad and good numbers, respectively, with the election a done deal; 3) Wall Street is more worried about the fiscal cliff; and 4) the report won't spur the Fed to any kind of new action. Quips Phil Izzo, "The jobs report still is the MVP of indicators, it’s just that this month it’s playing for the New York Jets."
But here's the nitty-gritty for those who have been waiting with baited breath:
- November's unemployment rate of 7.7% is a four-year low. It had been expected to remain at 7.9%.
- The economy added 146,000 jobs; just 80,000 had been expected.
- But it's not all rosy news: October's new jobs were revised down to 138,000 from the 171,000 initially reported, and September was revised from 148,000 down to 132,000.
- That brings the monthly average to 151,000, the Journal notes, which is enough to keep pace with population growth, but won't spur actual economic growth.