Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Business

December 6, 2013

Solid US job growth cuts unemployment to 7 pct.

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"The economy is picking up a little bit," said Amir Eisenstein, the chief marketing officer. "In the last couple of years, the mobile market has boomed."

The steady decline in unemployment, from a high of 10 percent four years ago, is welcome news for the White House. But Jason Furman, President Barack Obama's top economic adviser, said the plight of the long-term unemployed points to the need to extend emergency unemployment benefits.

About 1.3 million people who've been out of work for six months or more will lose unemployment aid if a 5-year-old program to provide extra benefits expires on Dec. 28. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost of an extension at $25 billion. Some Republicans on the Hill have balked at the cost.

But on Thursday, House GOP leader John Boehner said he was willing to consider extending the program.

Friday's jobs report follows other positive news. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the July-September quarter, the fastest growth since early 2012, though nearly half that gain came from businesses rebuilding stockpiles. Consumer spending grew at its slowest pace since late 2009.

But if hiring continues at its current pace, a virtuous cycle will start to build: More jobs typically lead to more pay, more spending and faster growth.

That said, more higher-paying jobs are needed to sustain the economy's momentum. Roughly half the jobs that were added in the six months through October were in four low-wage industries: retail; hotels, restaurants and entertainment; temp jobs; and home health care workers.

Consumers have been willing to spend on big-ticket items. Autos sold in November at their best pace in seven years, according to Autodata Corp. New-home sales in October bounced back from a summer downturn.

But early reports on holiday shopping have been disappointing. The National Retail Federation said sales during the Thanksgiving weekend — probably the most important stretch for retailers — fell for the first time since the group began keeping track in 2006.

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AP Economics Writer Josh Boak and AP Writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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Follow Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber

 

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