Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for US economy

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – U.S. employers kept their pace of hiring steady in December, falling short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate and pointing to lackluster economic growth in 2013.

Other data yesterday gave stronger signals on the health of the economy, with the U.S. service sector activity expanding the most in 10 months.

Payrolls, excluding farm jobs, grew by 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said. That was a touch more than analysts’ expectations and only slightly below the revised gain of 161,000 reported for November.

The jobless rate was steady at 7.8 percent. While firms kept on hiring despite the uncertainties raised by a budget stand-off in Washington, the report reinforced expectations of 2 percent economic growth this year.

Such slow growth is unlikely to quickly bring down the unemployment rate and probably will not make the U.S. Federal Reserve rethink its stimulus plan anytime soon despite growing unease among some policymakers over its bond-buying program.

“The U.S. economy is just muddling through,” said Tom di Galoma, managing director at Navigate Advisors in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Labor Department raised its estimate for unemployment in November by a tenth of a point to 7.8 percent.

Most economists expect the U.S. economy will be held back this year by tax hikes as well as by weak spending by households and businesses, which are still trying to reduce big debts taken on before the 2007-09 recession.

Yesterday’s data nonetheless gave signals of some momentum in the labor market’s recovery.

Gains in employment were distributed broadly throughout the economy, from manufacturing to health care. The government also said 14,000 more jobs were created in October and November than originally estimated.

Latest in World News

Jeremy Corbyn

EU vote triggers open conflict in Britain’s main parties

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Britain’s two main parties were in open conflict on Sunday after a vote to leave the EU triggered an attempted “coup” in the main opposition Labour Party and a bitter leadership contest in the ruling Conservatives.

default placeholder

Merkel sees no need to rush Britain into quick EU divorce

LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought yesterday to temper pressure from Paris, Brussels and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU, despite warnings that hesitation will let populism take hold.

default placeholder

UK’s Johnson wins backing from Gove for prime ministerial bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the successful “Leave” campaign in Britain’s European Union membership referendum, has won the backing of a key colleague to replace David Cameron as prime minister, a newspaper reported.

A model presents a bulletproof clothing by the Miguel Caballero Factory at the Chico Museum in Bogota, Colombia, June 24, 2016. (Reuters/John Vizcaino)

Colombian designer makes fashion business bulletproof

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Miguel Caballero’s designs are not just chic, they could save your life. But his creations come at a price.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Cameron quits after Britain votes to leave EU

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

default placeholder

South African court blocks appeal by Zuma over corruption charges

PRETORIA,  (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma failed yesterday in his appeal against a court ruling that corruption charges against him be reinstated, another setback for the leader who has been facing calls for his resignation.

default placeholder

Britain votes to leave EU in historic divorce – BBC

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, the BBC said based on voter tallies from yesterday’s referendum, an outcome that would set the country on an uncertain path and deal the largest setback to European efforts to forge greater unity since World War Two.

Cuba's President Raul Castro (C) looks as Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (L) shakes hands with FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, after signing a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Tears of joy as rebels sign ceasefire with Colombian government

HAVANA/BOGOTA,  (Reuters) – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels signed a historic ceasefire deal yesterday that brought them tantalizingly close to ending the longest running conflict in the Americas.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: