Light At The End Of The Tunnel?


Ryan Avent is cheered by the October employment report:

I think the most plausible explanation is that private-sector employment had begun a decent recovery earlier this year, then lost steam because of the European debt crisis, the BP oil spill, and the fading contribution of fiscal stimulus. Those restraints have begun to lift. Data on factory orders, retail sales and car sales suggest a modest rebound began in the last few months. Indeed, retail employment rose 28,000 in October. The odds favour a continuation of decent job growth, though not as briskly as in October. And hazards remain. Bank credit continues to contract, although more slowly than earlier this year. Political gridlock could trigger a premature shift to fiscal tightening. But for now, optimists should celebrate, and Mr Obama can rue the injustice of the economic data calendar.

Felix Salmon says that the report continues "the same story we’ve been seeing for a while: good news for the employed, bad news for the unemployed":

Overall, the private sector has now added more than a million new jobs over the past year a good start, in the wake of the 8 million job losses we saw over the course of the recession. And 400,000 of those new jobs have come in the past three months. For people with jobs, wages and hours are rising, too. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings are up 1.7%, while average hours worked are up 1.8%, resulting in a rise in average weekly earnings from $753.20 to $779.64. That’s a raise of $1,375 per year pretty healthy, given the state of the economy and the large number of people out of work.

But government employment is down, and the extra hiring simply isn’t making any kind of a dent on the unemployment figures. 

Krugman is still dour:

At this rate we’ll return to full employment around 2030 or so.

Chart from Calculated Risk.