The latest round of data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics surprised many analysts, who figured the impending fiscal cliff and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy would have had a major impact on hiring around the country.
But despite these disadvantages, U.S. employers continued to bring on new workers, creating 146,000 new jobs last month, helping to drive the unemployment rate down from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. The professional and business services sector, which includes staffing services, was among the top sectors for rising employment with 43,000 new jobs added, which include 18,000 new temporary jobs. This came alongside strong growth in the retail trade and healthcare industries.
With an employment rate at 7.7, percent - the lowest since December 2008 - it appears the country could be on the right track in its recovery. The rise came as a surprise to many analysts, with most economists agreeing only about 93,000 jobs would be created, citing Hurricane Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff as likely deterrents for hiring.
But the BLS released a statement saying that the storm most likely had no influence over employers.
"Our analysis leads us to conclude that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November," said John Galvin, acting commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But what may be even more impressive, according to some analysts, is not exactly the hiring numbers, but the fact the employers are remaining confident in the face of such a potentially damaging event - the fiscal cliff. If Congress cannot get through an impasse before January 1 automatic tax increases and spending cuts will go into effect, which many have said could cause economic turmoil.
Even with this on their minds, hiring remained steady.
"The good news is not that the labor market is improving rapidly – it isn’t – but that employment growth is holding up despite all the fears over the fiscal cliff," wrote Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight. "That suggests that if we can successfully negotiate the cliff without a prolonged crisis and without too much fiscal tightening up front (far from a sure thing, admittedly), employment growth should accelerate in 2013."