‘Cliff’ fears may hurt job gains


Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - B

The sur­vey by the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness shows that na­tion­wide, the num­ber of work­ers in small busi­nesses fell by 0.04 work­ers last month. In Oc­to­ber, the num­ber rose by 0.02 work­ers.

NFIB Chief Econ­o­mist Wil­liam Dunkel­berg called Sandy’s ef­fect on hir­ing “sub­stan­tial.” The Oct. 29 storm shut down thou­sands of small busi­nesses along the East Coast, and a large num­ber of com­pa­nies are still closed and have laid off work­ers. More­over many res­i­dents have suf­fered heavy dam­age to their homes and aren’t spend­ing money at busi­nesses in their com­mu­ni­ties.

The storm is also likely to de­press Novem­ber’s job fig­ures. And fears over loom­ing tax in­creases and spend­ing cuts, known as the “fis­cal cliff,” may have also dragged on job gains last month.

Econ­o­mists ex­pect em­ploy­ers added 110,000 jobs in Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Fac­tSet. And they think the un­em­ploy­ment rate will re­main 7.9 per­cent.

Some an­a­lysts ex­pect much lower job gains, roughly 25,000 to 50,000, be­cause of Sandy and anx­i­ety over the fis­cal cliff.

Still, most an­a­lysts say the un­der­ly­ing econ­omy re­mains healthy and is cre­at­ing jobs at a mod­est but steady pace.

With­out the de­pres­sive ef­fects of Su­per­storm Sandy and the cliff, many think em­ploy­ers would have added up to 200,000 jobs last month — even stronger than the solid 171,000 jobs added in Oc­to­ber.

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