As the year is nearing a close, the economy continues to add jobs at a steady, sustainable pace. This month, the nation added 203,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent—the lowest level in five years. Much of the broad-based job growth this month occurred in transportation and warehousing, healthcare, and manufacturing. Healthcare added 28,000 jobs in November, with job growth averaging 19,000 per month this year. Employment in manufacturing increased this month by 27,000 jobs, largely within the food manufacturing and in motor vehicles and parts sectors. Professional and business services continued to trend up with 35,000 jobs added. In addition, employment in the retail sector improved, adding 22,000 jobs this month. With the better-than-expected surge in retail sales posted in October, economists are predicting retail hiring to potentially surpass last year’s figures.
Unemployment Claims Dip Below 300,000
The number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell by 23,000 to 298,000, according to the latest Labor Department report. Although the entity has had difficulties in the past making seasonal adjustments during the holidays, the adjusted number of unemployment claims are now at the lowest level since early September and below 300,000 for only the second time since the recession concluded in 2009. The declining rate of layoffs in the U.S. appears to have coincided with a general slowing of unemployment claims over the past few months.
Manufacturing Sector Continues to Improve
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 57.3% from 56.4% in October— reaching its highest level since April 2011. This is the latest in a series of positive manufacturing sector index reports. The subcomponents of the ISM report were also strong, as the new order index increased in November by three percentage points to 63.6%, and the new production index increased by two percentage points to 62.8%.
Consumer and Employee Confidence Levels Vary
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined again in November, after sharply dropping in October. The index now stands at 70.4, down from 72.4 last month. A more detailed look at the report reflected mixed sentiments regarding current conditions, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, when looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earnings prospects, but remained neutral about economic conditions.
Meanwhile, in the November Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index
, workers are reporting restored confidence in the workplace. The monthly tracker which measures outlook on jobs, the economy, and career prospects, rose three points during November to 54.5. Employees also indicated higher levels of confidence in the economy and job market, with more workers indicating the strength of the economy has improved.
Working Women Play Vital Role in Employment Market
The latest Randstad U.S. Employee Engagement Study
revealed key strategies employers will need to take in order to help women advance, an important initiative for companies seeking to compete for top talent in the future. With nearly one billion women poised to enter the global economy in the coming decade, and representing the majority of college and advanced degree holders, employers will be increasingly reliant upon women in the workplace to drive innovation and corporate success.
The study found equal pay, more visible female leadership and more family-friendly work policies are among the most beneficial ways in which companies can help women advance. The study also found that 67 percent of total respondents strongly/somewhat agree with the statement, “By 2020, I expect there to be many more women in leadership positions in my company or organization.”
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