Job Openings in U.S. Decreased by 100,000 in September
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Job openings in the U.S. dropped to a five-month low in September, signaling uneven progress in the labor market may extend through year-end.
The number of positions waiting to be filled declined by 100,000 to 3.56 million from the prior month, the Labor Department said today in a statement. Openings have cooled since reaching a peak this year of 3.74 million in March.
Jobs may be harder to come by as more American companies retrench in the face of a slowing global economy and the so-called fiscal cliff. Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg
Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Shiller, a professor at Yale University and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values, talks about the outlook for the U.S. economy, fiscal policy and the presidential election. Shiller speaks with Betty Liu and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) – President Barack Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer and co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co., offer their views on today's U.S. jobs report for October, the possible impact on the presidential election and the outlook for the labor market. This report also contains comments from Edward Lazear, a professor at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush; Neil Dutta, head U.S. economist at Renaissance Macro Research LLC; John Taylor, a professor at Stanford University and a senior economic adviser to Mitt Romney, and Allen Sinai, chief executive officer of Decision Economics Inc. (Source: Bloomberg)
A slowing global economy and the risk Congress won’t avert $607 billion in automatic federal tax increases and spending cuts next year represent obstacles for American companies as they assess hiring plans. Today’s figures show the October jump in private payrolls, the biggest in eight months, may be difficult to sustain without faster economic growth.
“We’re looking at a very subdued pace of employment,” saidMichelle Girard, senior U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. inStamford, Connecticut. “The economy is growing, but growing too slowly. Firms want more clarity on the outlook before they’re actually going to step up their hiring pace.”
Stocks gained for a second day as Americans headed to the polls to decide between giving President Barack Obamaanother four years or replacing him with Republican challengerMitt Romney. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.8 percent to 1,428.39 at the close of trading in New York.
Talking to customers, “what we’re hearing is that they’re not hiring, they’re not investing right now,” Greg Lehmkuhl, president of Con-way Freight Inc., said during a Nov. 1 call with analysts. “They’re waiting for some more stability in the political and fiscal policies. Hopefully after the election and with the dealing of the fiscal cliff our customers will feel more confident in investing in their businesses.”
Europe’s economy showed more signs of strain, according to figures today. German factory orders fell in September by the most in a year as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and slowing economic growth prompted companies to reduce investment. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, slumped 3.3 percent from August, when they dropped a revised 0.8 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said. That’s the second straight drop and the biggest since September 2011.
The number of Americans hired in September dropped to 4.19 million, pushing down the hiring rate to 3.1 percent from 3.3 percent, according to today’s Labor Department report.
Without more openings, Cheryl Boyd from Columbus, Ohio, will have a harder time with the search she started in January. The 55-year-old said she enrolled in community-college classes and career counseling and has been attending job fairs -- so far without success. She has interviewed for four positions, including one at a casino.
To make ends meet in the meantime, Boyd said she’s been taking freelance photography jobs, babysitting for friends and using her credit card.
“I would take part time, full-time -- I would take something below my qualification, anything,” Boyd said. “It’s just been an odd job search. I think what I’ve noticed is that it’s the employer’s market.”
Today’s U.S. Labor Department report helps illuminate the government’s monthly employment figures.
In October, payrolls expanded by 171,000 workers after a 148,000 gain in September that was larger than first estimated, a report showed Nov. 2. Private payrolls rose by 184,000, the most since February. The jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent as more people began looking for work.
Increases in payrolls so far this year have averaged 157,000 a month, little changed from the 153,000 average for 2011.
Did Hurricane Sandy deal a crippling blow to the Mitt Romney campaign?
“If you hadn’t had the storm,” said Karl Rove, “there would have been more of a chance for the Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy.”
Bill O’Reilly agreed that the weather helped President Barack Obama: “That image of Hurricane Sandy overrode the Libya story . . . he got more positive currency out of Sandy than negative currency on Libya.”
Rush Limbaugh even hinted at a conspiracy: “I’ll tell you something, that whole Sandy narrative, that it helped Obama. Who started that? It wasn’t our guys. That was the media that started that, kept hoping and praying that Sandy would give Obama -- but they knew last week that Obama needed a boost.”
Many Democrats have dismissed this as so much whining. “Republicans have already found their scapegoat: Hurricane Sandy,” wrote Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo. “The argument misstates the timing of the Romney surge. While the first presidential debate early October led to an unquestionable polling swing in Romney’s favor, scores of national surveys showed the race stabilizing by mid-October, well before the storm hit.”
Others speculated that the storm should actually have aided the Republican side of the wealth gap. “A certain amount of bad weather on election day helps conservatives in every democracy,” noted the Financial Times’s Lex column. “In crude terms, car- driving conservative retirees still turn out in driving rain, when bus-taking lower-income workers just back from a night shift are more likely to give rain-soaked polls a miss.”
So what really happened? A clue can be found in a Politico story inexplicably headlined “Exit polls 2012: Hurricane Sandy not a factor.” According to CBS News’s exit polling, Emily Schultheis reported, “26 percent named Sandy as an ’important’ factor, and 15 percent said it was the ’most important’ factor in their decision.” That was early exit polling, but if it holds, it’s hard to say the storm wasn’t a factor.