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Too soon to panic over jobs numbers

Marketplace Contributor Dec 7, 2012
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75,000 new jobs is the figure economists are forecasting for today’s employment report. That would mean 100,000 fewer jobs created in November than October.

But economists are also saying that before we start wringing our hands over an economic slowdown, it’s important to take into account that November was a turbulent month.

Bernard Baumohl, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group, says it was a rough month for a few reasons: “We had an economy that was buffeted by a major hurricane in the Northeast, we had a highly-charged presidential election and dire warnings of a fiscal cliff and recession in 2013.”

Baumohl says that when you keep the turbulence in mind, this report won’t shed much light on the current state of the economy. Betsey Stevenson, associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan, says that if the forecasts are right and employers hired 100,000 fewer workers in November than October, that’s not statistically significant:

“Remember that the employment number is plus or minus 100,000 jobs,” says Stevenson.

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