News / Economy

Strong US Job Growth Cuts Unemployment to 5-Year Low

Strong US Job Growth Cuts Unemployment to 5-Year Lowi
X
December 07, 2013 12:18 AM
The world’s largest economy continued to build momentum - with better than expected job growth in November. The U.S. government says American companies hired more workers than expected last month, cutting the unemployment rate to 7 percent, which is the lowest level in five years. Despite a steadily improving job picture, though, some doubts remain about the sustainability of the U.S. recovery. Mil Arcega has more for VOA.

Strong US Job Growth Cuts Unemployment to 5-Year Low

The world’s largest economy continued to build momentum - with better than expected job growth in November. The U.S. government says American companies hired more workers than expected last month, cutting the unemployment rate to 7 percent, which is the lowest level in five years. Despite a steadily improving job picture, though, some doubts remain about the sustainability of the U.S. recovery.

American businesses added 203,000 jobs in November. That works out to a four-month average of more than 200,000 hires per month.

The last time unemployment was this low was five years ago. Bankrate.com’s Mark Hamrick said this month's drop in unemployment was different.

Speaking with VOA via Skype, he said, “This time it’s much different. We had labor force participation holding steady and we saw broad-based improvement in the job market. It wasn’t just some of those sub-standard jobs that we’ve seen in months past.”

That means gains in higher paying industries. Manufacturing added 27,000 jobs, construction gained 17,000. The average work week expanded, and hourly wages grew.

U.S. unemployment rate, 2009-2013U.S. unemployment rate, 2009-2013
x
U.S. unemployment rate, 2009-2013
U.S. unemployment rate, 2009-2013
And despite a weak start to the holiday shopping season, hiring at shopping malls and department stores has been steady, according to the National Retail Federation's Kathy Grannis.

“Retailers are expected to hire anywhere from 702,000 to 750,000. Very much on pace with last year, so of course, with expected growth comes the opportunity for more hires,“ said Grannis.

Although there are worries that an improving U.S. outlook might hasten a pull-back of the central bank’s easy-money policies, the strong job growth was welcome news on Wall Street.

Whether the U.S. recovery has staying power, however, remains in doubt.

Hamrick said another budget stalemate in Congress could easily erase recent gains. “We do have some looming deadlines there, and I know that consumers are concerned about the dysfunction that has become seemingly commonplace in Washington.”

Congress faces a new budget deadline December 13. Without a bipartisan agreement on spending, the government could run out of money by January.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.