Unemployment in the US has fallen to a four-year low after “superstorm” Sandy failed to halt a stronger-than-expected rise in hiring last month.
UNEMPLOYMENT in the US has fallen to a four-year low after “superstorm” Sandy failed to halt a stronger-than-expected rise in hiring last month.
The world’s largest economy added 146,000 jobs in November, well above the 93,000 predicted by economists. That helped lower the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent – from 7.9 per cent in October and the lowest figure since December 2008.
Despite the disruption caused by Sandy, which hit the north-east coast on 29 October and prevented some 369,000 people from getting to work, John Galvin, acting commissioner at the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, said initial estimates suggested the storm “did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November”.
However, revised data showed employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than initially estimated, and Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam warned that November’s figures could also be downgraded.
He said: “Apparently there has been no impact from hurricane Sandy. This is very hard to believe and suggests that future revisions will almost certainly negatively impact the figures.”
James Knightley, global economist at ING Bank, said uncertainty over whether President Barack Obama will be able to secure a deal to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts on 1 January was also making firms wary about hiring staff.