The Corner

Today’s Jobs Numbers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers cut 533,000 jobs, most since 1974;

jobless rate rises to 6.7 percent .

Economist Bob Stein tells NRO:”The U.S. job market got substantially worse in November. As a share of the labor force, the 533,000 drop in payrolls was the largest since 1980. The weakness in jobs was widespread, with the private-service sector losing 377,000 on top of continuing weakness in construction and manufacturing. While the unemployment rate went up less than the consensus expected, this was due to a decline in the labor-force-participation rate (the portion of people working or looking for work) to a tie for the lowest level in 20 years. Moreover, firms are now trimming not only jobs but hours per worker, with average weekly hours falling to 33.5, the lowest level on record. The only bright spot in the report was that average hourly earnings increased 0.4% in November and are up 3.7% versus last year. Given the recent rapid decline in consumer prices, which continued through November, these wages will likely translate into a 2% increase in inflation-adjusted purchasing power per hour of work, helping temper weakness in consumption in the months ahead.”

Dan Mitchell of Cato tells NRO:”Today’s unemployment numbers are very discouraging, but hardly surprising given the wretched public-policy choices of politicians in Washington. Recessions (which almost always are caused by bad government policy) normally end quickly, but bailouts and pork-filled ’stimulus’ are making matters worse. Investors and entrepreneurs have little reason to invest and create jobs when politicians keep expanding the burden of government.”

Kevin Hassett (AEI/Bloomberg) says: “Terrible number. It suggests that GDP growth in the fourth quarter will be the worst we have seen in many decades. This recession gets worse and worse.”

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