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Investing Specialists

A Harder Day’s Work Caps New Job Growth

Both employers and employees want more hours--and it's keeping unemployment high.

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Hardworking Employees Drive a Lackluster Job Recovery
It's one of those weeks when the flow of economic indicators was so uniformly positive that I just have to pinch myself to make sure I'm really here. An employment report showing job growth that was double expectations was certainly a highlight, but some of the behind-the-scenes numbers in that report were even more positive than the headline numbers.

Even the manufacturing sector, which had been a little weaker lately, turned in a very positive new orders report and a positive purchasing managers' report, much to the surprise of most analysts. In addition, auto sales for October also showed surprising power. The purchasing managers' survey for the services sector also managed surprising strength.

On the negative side of the ledger, initial unemployment claims continue to bounce around in an indecipherable pattern and were up again after several weeks of solid improvement. Personal income was just a tad disappointing at first blush, but that was largely driven by the absence of "catch-up" unemployment money paid in August and not repeated in September.

Robert Johnson, CFA does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.