UPDATE: The Labor Department reports that the U.S. added 321,000 jobs in November, with the unemployment rate at 5.8%.
Over the past year the economy’s been adding on average 220,000 jobs per month. And the quality of jobs has gradually improved, says Mark Hamrick at Bankrate.com, a consumer financial services company. One year ago, he says, the strongest job growth was in relatively low-skilled, low-paid sectors: bars and restaurants, hotels, retail.
“We’re seeing a greater collection of sectors participating in job creation,” says Hamrick, including “professional and business services, health care, construction, occasionally manufacturing.”
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has predicted a strong hiring season for seasonal retail jobs, with companies including Amazon, Macy’s, Fedex, UPS, Walmart, Kohl’s and GameStop planning to increase hiring over last year. But after disappointing sales on Black Friday, “companies look at the traffic in their stores,” says John Challenger, “and if it’s really going to be down longer-term, they’ll pull some of those people back.”