The last month of 2013 was the strongest overall for job gains, according to the ADP National Employment Report for December. Gains of 238,000 jobs were significantly higher than the previous month’s 215,000 jobs, and greater than the 200,000 jobs predicted by economists.
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“The job market ended 2013 on a high note,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, in a press release issued by ADP. “Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month. Job gains are broad-based across industries, most notably in construction and manufacturing. It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which comes out Friday, is expected to show gains of 195,000 jobs. Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics, tells USA Today that the ADP and BLS reports tend to diverge more widely in December, because of “the tendency of employers to purge their payrolls of employees who have left the company.”
If predictions about the BLS report are correct, that number of 195,000 jobs will be down slightly from the 203,000 jobs added in November. The November report also indicated a five-year low in unemployment. The unemployment rate for December is expected to be 7 percent, the same as the previous month.
In any event, the country is a long way from what Zandi terms “full employment” — 5.5 percent. He tells CNN that it could take until 2016 to reach that goal.
The PayScale Index shows a 0.2 percent rise in wages for the fourth quarter of 2013, and forecasts a 0.7 percent rise for the first quarter in 2014.
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