Last week's employment figures for November, released by the Labor Department, confirmed that the U.S. recovery continues, but still at a slow pace.
The creation of 146, 000 new jobs n November confirms the yearly trend of monthly job creation of around 150,000. True, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 in November, but mainly because 350,000 persons left the workforce. Even so, throughout the year, the unemployment rate has decreased by a full percentage point. However, as characterized by William Dudley of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, unemployment remains "unacceptably high."
By sectors there were lights and shadows. Anticipating end-of-year sales, retailers added 53,000 new jobs in November, more than three times the monthly rate of increase. Also, as it has consistently done throughout the slow recovery, health care added 20,000 new jobs in November.
Contrastingly, manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs and construction also lost 20,000 jobs, with some of these latter losses caused by Superstorm Sandy.
This average monthly job creation of around 150,000 is consistent with a moderate yearly rate of economic growth of around 2 percent. According to the Commerce Department, the growth rate of 2.7 percent for this year's third quarter was stronger than expected, after 1.3 percent in the second quarter.
At this slow rate of economic expansion, the projection is that unemployment won't reach less than 7 percent until the start of 2014.
Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.
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