ECONOMY – GOOD NEWS

Since October, 2014, there has been nothing but good news as far as job growth is concerned. The Journal News on October 4, 2014 had a headline “Economy Grows 248,000 jobs”. The article by Paul Davidson pointed out that the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time since 2008. Employers added 248,000 jobs in September, 2014. The area of job growth was in broad ranges of industries including business services, professional finance, retail and healthcare. The jobless rate dropped from 6.1% to 5.9%. The Federal Reserve considers 5.5% as a normal level of unemployment. The Labor Department revised gains in employment to 180,000 in August, 2014 and July, 2014 to 243,000 jobs. The monthly employment gains averaged 227,000 jobs up from 194,000 for all of 2013.

On November 8, 2014, the same author published an article in The Journal News “nation’s jobless rate fell to 5.8%”, the lowest since July, 2008. The economy added 200,000 jobs for February through October, a nine month record unmatched since March, 1995. Monthly job growth averaged 229,000 in 2014 compared to 194,000 in 2013. The job gains continued to be led by low paying industries such as restaurants and retail. Other positive news was that job gains for August and September were revised up by 31,000 jobs.

The good news continued in November, 2014. In The Journal News on Saturday, December 6, 2014, Paul Davidson again wrote “job boom goes far, wide”. The article points out that a surge in new jobs in November, 2014 was the strongest gains in nearly 3 years. Employers added 321,000 jobs in November bolstering opportunities for blue and white collar workers alike from retail clerks to financial officers according to the Labor Department. The gains surpassed many economist forecasts which were in the 225,000 to 230,000 range. November jobless rate remained at 5.8% as the favorable market drew an additional 119,000 Americans into the labor force to accept a job or look for one. They included discouraged workers who had given up searches for jobs. Two sectors with low wage workers, retail and leisure and hospitality were among the biggest gainers adding 40,000 & 32,000 jobs respectively including seasonal employment. Middle income industries also added 28,000 jobs. Higher paying sectors also beefed up staff continuing resurgence. Financial, insurance and real estate together added 20,000 employees, the most since March, 2012 and 80,000 jobs were added by professional and business services including accountants, engineers and computer design specialists.

The broad based gains reflect a self-sustaining recovery in that job gains lead to more consumers spending which make further payroll growth across the economy, according to this article. The quality of jobs is starting to improve. In November, 2014, the average hourly earnings rose 9 cents to $24.66, but wages were up 2% in the last year. The average work week rose to 34.6 hours from 34.5 hours. The number of Americans out of work at least 6 months fell by 101,000.

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, Paul Davidson reported in The Journal News “jobless rate falls to 5.6% in December, 2014”. The article states 252,000 jobs were added in December, 2014. The unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6%, the lowest since June, 2008. Economists expected payroll gains of 240,000 jobs. Employers added an average of 246,000 jobs a month in 2014, the best year since 1999. Also encouraging is that job gains for October, 2014 & November, 2014 were revised up by 50,000 jobs. October was revised to 261,000 jobs from 240,000 jobs and November to 353,000 from 321,000.

The beat went on in January for job growth. In an article on Saturday, February 6, 2015, by Paul Davidson stated employers added a better than expected 275,000 jobs in January, 2015. The unemployment rate went up to 5.7% from 5.6%, mainly because an additional 703,000 Americans including previously discouraged workers surged back into the labor force to look for work or take a job. Job gains for November & December, 2015 were revised up by 147,000 jobs. November was revised to 423,000 jobs from 353,000 and December, 2014 TO 329,000 FROM 252,000 JOBS. The economy added more than 1 million jobs in the past three months, the best since 1997. According to Paul Ashworth, Chief US Economist at Capital Economics, employment growth is clearly on fire and beginning to put up world pressure on wage growth. The article points out with low oil prices many economists speculated the Federal Reserve would delay raising short terms job until later in 2015 or even 2016.

We will continue to follow the economy in 2015.