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Few New Jobs as Jobless Rate Rises to 9.8%

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  • MikeSar
    Few New Jobs as Jobless Rate Rises to 9.8%Joe Skipper/Reuters MOTOKO RICH New York TimesPublished: December 3, 2010 Advocates for the unemployed expressed
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2010
      Few New Jobs as Jobless Rate Rises to 9.8%
      Joe Skipper/Reuters 
       MOTOKO RICH New York Times
      Published: December 3, 2010

      Advocates for the unemployed expressed dismay over the outlook. "I'm still trying to get my jaw off the floor," said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. "What it does is it kills the story that maybe I thought we could start telling, which was steady improvement. If we had four months in a row of improving jobs numbers, we would still need a lot of work to get back to full employment, but now it's not even moving in the right direction." 
      The absence of strong hiring has puzzled some because companies are enjoying strong profits and building large cash reserves. "A lot of this profit increase has come about from cost cutting," said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC Global Banking and Markets. "And I think a lot of businesses are saying they don't have the pricing power they'd like, and they're cautious about growth in final demand, and that may be reflected back to decisions about investment and job creation." 
      Analysts generally estimate that the economy needs to add at least 100,000 to 125,000 jobs a month simply to keep up with new entrants to the labor force. 
      So if employers keep hiring at the pace of recent months, it will not help reduce the unemployment rate for some time. At November's pace, the unemployment rate could actually rise further. 
      Some have predicted an unemployment rate of 10 percent next year. The November rate was the highest since April and up from 9.6 percent in October. 
      There was little sign that companies were straining to meet demand by pushing existing workers. The average workweek held steady at 34.3 hours, while average hourly earnings increased by just 1 percent to $22.75. Usually, growth in the number of hours worked and wages presage more hiring as companies max out current workers. 
      The median length of time that the unemployed had been out of work rose to 21.6 weeks, the third month in a row that the duration has increased. 
      For those who have been searching for work for more than six months , this is a discouraging prospect. "I have looked high and low," said Melissa Barone, who was laid off from a job in technical support 14 months ago. "I have a college degree and a ton of technical skills, but I can't find a job." Ms. Barone, 42, lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich., near Detroit. She has applied for hundreds of jobs but has yet to receive an offer. If the economy is improving, that is news to Ms. Barone. "It doesn't seem that way here," she said. 
      Advocates for the unemployed expressed dismay over the outlook. "I'm still trying to get my jaw off the floor," said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. "What it does is it kills the story that maybe I thought we could start telling, which was steady improvement. If we had four months in a row of improving jobs numbers, we would still need a lot of work to get back to full employment, but now it's not even moving in the right direction." 
      The absence of strong hiring has puzzled some because companies are enjoying strong profits and building large cash reserves. "A lot of this profit increase has come about from cost cutting," said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC Global Banking and Markets. "And I think a lot of businesses are saying they don't have the pricing power they'd like, and they're cautious about growth in final demand, and that may be reflected back to decisions about investment and job creation." 
      Analysts generally estimate that the economy needs to add at least 100,000 to 125,000 jobs a month simply to keep up with new entrants to the labor force. So if employers keep hiring at the pace of recent months, it will not help reduce the unemployment rate for some time. At November's pace, the unemployment rate could actually rise further. Some have predicted an unemployment rate of 10 percent next year. The November rate was the highest since April and up from 9.6 percent in October. 
      There was little sign that companies were straining to meet demand by pushing existing workers. The average workweek held steady at 34.3 hours, while average hourly earnings increased by just 1 percent to $22.75. Usually, growth in the number of hours worked and wages presage more hiring as companies max out current workers. 
      The median length of time that the unemployed had been out of work rose to 21.6 weeks, the third month in a row that the duration has increased. 
      For those who have been searching for work for more than six months , this is a discouraging prospect. "I have looked high and low," said Melissa Barone, who was laid off from a job in technical support 14 months ago. "I have a college degree and a ton of technical skills, but I can't find a job." Ms. Barone, 42, lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich., near Detroit. She has applied for hundreds of jobs but has yet to receive an offer. 
      If the economy is improving, that is news to Ms. Barone. "It doesn't seem that way here," she said. 

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