As I have said in previous posts, one single data point should not be used to draw firm conclusions about underlying trends in the U.S. economy. But, oh what a disappointment today’s employment report was. According to the BLS, total nonfarm payrolls did increase on net by 39,000 during November, but this gain was significantly below consensus expectations of 145,000; in addition, the diffusion index, which measures the breadth of job growth across industries, slipped to its lowest level since January as most hiring was centered within the temp services and health care industries. Overall, businesses have added roughly 840,000 new jobs on net in the past year, but this graph demonstrates how much more improvement is needed before the labor market is completely back on its legs.

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