Job­less rate could re­main the same

Hir­ing

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Con­tin­ued from B

get to work and weren’t paid as job losses, even if they were tem­po­rary. Those sub­trac­tions would re­duce net hir­ing.

Though Sandy shrank some com­pany pay­rolls, it might not have af­fected the un­em­ploy­ment rate. The rate is cal­cu­lated from a sep­a­rate government sur­vey of house­holds.

The government asks about 60,000 house­holds each month whether the adults have jobs and whether those who don’t are look­ing for one. Those with­out a job who are look­ing for one are counted as un­em­ployed. Those who aren’t look­ing aren’t counted as un­em­ployed.

Many work­ers who were tem­po­rar­ily dropped from pay­rolls be­cause of Sandy would still con­sider them­selves em­ployed. As a re­sult, the un­em­ploy­ment rate might not change much, if at all, for Novem­ber.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple were put at least tem­po­rar­ily out of work. Two weeks af­ter the storm hit, about 75,000 peo­ple in New York and New Jersey ap­plied for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

Sev­eral econ­o­mists es­ti­mate that Sandy might lower the government’s count of com­pany pay­rolls by as many as 150,000. Those es­ti­mates are based in part on the ef­fects of pre­vi­ous storms.

Kevin Cum­mins, U.S. econ­o­mist at UBS, noted that Sandy hit a heav­ily pop­u­lated area where many jobs pay above-av­er­age wages. The av­er­age weekly pay fig­ure in­cluded in the jobs report is likely to de­cline as a re­sult.

ADP, a pay­roll provider, said Wed­nes­day that pri­vate com­pa­nies added 118,000 jobs in Novem­ber, down from 157,000 in the pre­vi­ous month. Mark Zandi, chief econ­o­mist at Moody’s

Thou­sands were put out of work at least tem­po­rar­ily.

An­a­lyt­ics, which helps com­pile data for ADP, es­ti­mated that the storm low­ered the job gains by about 86,000.

But pay­roll losses from the storm could be higher in the government’s to­tal. That’s be­cause ADP counts peo­ple as em­ployed if they re­main on a pay­roll — even if they’re not paid. But the government counts peo­ple as em­ployed only if they’re paid.

The ef­fect on hir­ing from im­pend­ing tax in­creases and fed­eral spend­ing cuts — the “fis­cal cliff”— is harder to quan­tify. Those mea­sures are set to take ef­fect in Jan­uary un­less Congress and the White House reach a bud­get deal first.

Com­pa­nies might not be cut­ting jobs be­cause of the fis­cal cliff. But the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the out­come is likely de­lay­ing some hir­ing, econ­o­mists say.

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