Jobs in restaurants, bars, hotels, construction power national gains; retail slips
By Orion Jones
Hiring in industries that benefit real estate continued apace in November, as the economy appeared to stave off a recession — at least for now.
Restaurants, bars and hotels led the leisure and hospitality sector to a seasonally adjusted gain of 88,000 jobs last month, while employment in construction grew by 20,000.
Gains from construction and leisure and hospitality accounted for about 40 percent of all jobs added to the economy last month. The addition of 263,000 positions kept hiring on pace with gains during October and September.
The otherwise good news could signal that interest rate hikes have not yet accomplished the Federal Reserve’s goal of slowing inflation by making borrowing more costly. It remains to be seen if inflation can be brought down to the central bank’s 2 percent target without driving the economy into recession.
“Despite this better-than-expected report, [the Mortgage Bankers Association] is holding to its forecast of a recession in the U.S. in the first half of 2023,” MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni said in a statement.
A recession could lead to lower mortgage rates, yet delay home ownership for households whose income or job security sinks.
“A weakening job market will eventually be a negative for the housing market, as it will reduce demand,” said Fratantoni. “However, reaching the Federal Reserve’s goal of reducing inflation will be a benefit to those still in a position to buy a home, as it will bring down mortgage rates and improve affordability.”
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent in November. Meanwhile, wage growth accelerated to an annual gain of 5.1 percent, “dashing the hopes that maybe nominal wages growth was cooling,” Harvard economist Jason Furman said on Twitter.
“I was allowing myself to get more hopeful about a soft landing (2nd time this year), but this pretty much dashed that hope,” he tweeted.
Employment in retail trade fell by a seasonally adjusted 30,000 jobs in November — for a total of 62,000 job losses since August — while warehousing and storage shed 12,500 workers, after falling by 20,000 in October.
The Labor Department revised September hiring down to 269,000 jobs, while October hiring was revised upward to 284,000. With these revisions, employment gains were a combined 23,000 lower than previously reported.
Via The Real Deal