Friday, November 24, 2017
Business

Employers add 155,000 jobs in December, but unemployment rate still 7.8%

RECOMMENDED READING


WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations over the "fiscal cliff" budget deal.

The solid job growth wasn't enough to reduce the unemployment rate, which remained 7.8 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The rate for November was revised up from an initially reported 7.7 percent. Also, the government said hiring was stronger in November than it first estimated. November's job increases were revised up 15,000 to 161,000.

The "gain is perhaps better than it looks, given that firms were probably nervous about adding workers with the fiscal cliff looming," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

For 2012, employers added 1.84 million jobs, an average of 153,000 jobs a month, roughly matching the job totals for 2011.

Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the December job growth. Construction companies added 30,000 jobs, the most in 15 months. That increase probably reflected hiring needed to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and also gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery.

Manufacturers added 25,000 jobs, the most in nine months.

Other higher-paying industries also added jobs. Professional and business services — a category that includes positions in information technology, management and architecture — gained 19,000. Financial services added 9,000. Health care added 55,000.

Lower-paying industry sectors were mixed. Restaurants and bars added 38,000 jobs. Retailers cut 11,300, a sign that the holiday shopping season might have been sluggish. But those cuts followed three months of strong gains.

All of the job gains last month came from private employers. Governments shed 13,000 jobs, mostly in local school systems.

Friday's report did point to some weakness in the job market. For example, the number of unemployed people actually rose 164,000 to 12.2 million.

The unemployment numbers come from a government survey of households; the number of jobs added each month comes from a separate survey of businesses.

A broader category that includes not only the unemployed but also part-time workers who want full-time jobs and people who have given up looking for work was unchanged in December at 22.7 million.

Most economists expect little improvement in hiring this year. A 2-percentage-point cut in the Social Security tax expired Jan. 1. That means a household with income of about $50,000 will have about $1,000 less to spend. And the government will may impose spending cuts this year.

Both the higher taxes and the spending cuts, along with uncertainty about future budget fights, could restrain growth and hiring.

That "likely means acceleration in the labor market will remain elusive for the time being," said Ellen Zentner, an economist at Nomura Securities.

Comments

Woman, 51, robbed in Tyrone Square Mall parking lot, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman was robbed after a man followed her to her car in a mall parking lot Thursday night and shot once at her, police said. The 51-year-old woman, whose identity St. Petersburg police are withholding, was not injured. She was walk...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

TAMPA — Standing in a frantic line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving, one young woman beat the system when she showed off the receipt for her new TV, which she had just purchased on her phone. She was waiting to pick it up."I didn’t know you could do that,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Take steps against holiday fraud with private WiFi, fraud alerts

Take steps against holiday fraud with private WiFi, fraud alerts

The holiday shopping season bring hosts of discounts and deals, but it also brings something less cheery — fraud. According to a forecast by ACI Worldwide, a payment processing company, retailers are expected to see a 30 percent jump in fraud this ye...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fourth Street’s mom and pop motels are a dying breed

Fourth Street’s mom and pop motels are a dying breed

ST. PETERSBURG — Billboards as far north as Tennessee beckoned tourists by the thousands to St. Petersburg’s Fourth Street calling it "the longest motel street in the world" in the 1940s and ’50s. There were 95 motels between the Gandy Bridge and Cen...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

What’s ahead for real estate in 2018? Zillow economists put their heads together and offered up a laundry list of forecasts and predictions. The chief one to remember? Inventory shortages of homes for sale which challenged the market in 2017 will pe...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

TAMPA — By Tuesday evening, at least 50 cardboard boxes were still stacked against the shop’s wall, each labeled clearly with a black sharpie. "Biographies" "Pets" "Fiction" "Music" While the front of the store and new children’...
Updated: 5 hours ago
As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

What’s coming down the economic pike for Tampa Bay? Who’s driving this metro economy into 2018 and beyond? Change — people, issues, business focus — can be a good thing. It keeps places like geographically challenged Tampa Bay nimble with fresh blood...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is cert...
Published: 11/22/17
Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, haven’t been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say they are ...
Published: 11/22/17