clear
Tuesday May 5th, 2015 4:23AM

US employers may post a 5th month of solid hiring

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Healthy U.S. economic growth in the second half of last year has raised expectations that 2013 ended with a fifth straight month of solid hiring.<br /> <br /> Economists predict that employers added 196,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be nearly as strong as November's robust gain of 203,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at a five-year low of 7 percent.<br /> <br /> The Labor Department will release the December employment report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday.<br /> <br /> From August through November, the economy added an average of 204,000 jobs a month. Another month of 200,000 or so new jobs would suggest that employers are hiring at a sustained pace. That's what policymakers and job hunters have hoped for since the Great Recession ended more than 4 1/2 years ago.<br /> <br /> "I think the economy's finally moving into third gear here," said Ethan Harris, global economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.<br /> <br /> Steady job gains were a big reason the Federal Reserve decided last month to cut back on its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to lower long-term loan rates to stimulate spending and growth. The Fed is paring its bond buying to $75 billion a month from $85 billion. It is likely to further reduce its pace of purchases if the strong job gains continue.<br /> <br /> Recent data have painted a picture of an economy on the steady rise. Exports hit a record level in November, lowering the U.S. trade deficit. Businesses have ordered more manufactured goods. Auto sales reached a six-year high in 2013.<br /> <br /> Analysts now estimate that the economy expanded at a healthy annual rate of 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the October-December quarter. That's up from earlier forecasts of a 2 percent rate or less. It would follow a strong 4.1 percent growth rate reported for the July-September quarter.<br /> <br /> That healthier economic growth likely fueled hiring in December. Payroll processor ADP said this week that private businesses added the most jobs in 13 months in December. Construction companies reported their biggest hiring gain since 2006.<br /> <br /> And two surveys by the Institute for Supply Management found that both manufacturing and services firms added workers at a faster pace last month than in November.<br /> <br /> Small businesses are also ramping up hiring. The National Federation of Independent Business, a leading small business group, said its members added jobs in December at their fastest rate in nearly eight years.<br /> <br /> If the economists' forecasts are accurate, the U.S. economy will have gained 2.27 million jobs in 2013 - the most since 2005.<br /> <br /> Still, there have been some hints that last month might have been weaker than expected. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits spiked in December, which suggests that layoffs rose.<br /> <br /> Economists caution that those figures might have been distorted by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, which can create unusual spikes in temporary job cuts. Applications for unemployment benefits have fallen back to pre-recession levels in the past two weeks.<br /> <br /> Cold weather may have also caused some employees to miss work. That could lower the government's calculation of job gains.<br />
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 4 months ago )
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Applications for US jobless aid rise
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications continues to be at historically low levels.
9:23AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
KKK group to keep fighting to join road cleanup program in NE Ga.
A Georgia Ku Klux Klan group says it will move forward with its application for a highway cleanup program in northeast Georgia after a judge ruled the state's denial violated the organization's right to free speech.
12:24PM ( 4 months ago )
2-year-old accidentally kills mom in Idaho Wal-Mart
A 29-year-old woman described as a "beautiful, young, loving mother" was fatally shot by her 2-year-old son at a northern Idaho Wal-Mart in what authorities called a tragic accident.
9:09AM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
Gainesville Schools taps Centennial High's Kirk to take over system-wide AD position
At Monday night's school board work session, Gainesville City School Superintendent Wanda Creel introduced the school system's new Director of Athletics and Student Activities.
3:11AM ( 1 hour ago )
Photos: NGMC Pet Park open for patient use
A brand new pet park at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville drew a large crowd Monday afternoon as officials cut the ribbon and officially opened the park for patient.
6:55PM ( 9 hours ago )
Gainesville man arrested in fatal Jackson Co. hit and run
Georgia State Troopers have the driver of a car involved in a fatal hit and run Monday in Jackson County in custody.
By AccessWDUN staff
6:02PM ( 10 hours ago )
Forsyth County man killed in weekend motorcycle wreck
A Forsyth County man died after a traffic accident on Hickory Hills Road Sunday afternoon.
4:05PM ( 12 hours ago )
NGMC-Braselton begins construction on obstetrics unit
Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Braselton began construction on a new expansion Monday, allowing the hospital to begin offering obstetric services to the community.
By AccessWDUN staff
3:28PM ( 12 hours ago )