Jobs report likely to show consistent hiring
Employers probably added jobs in December at about the same pace as the prior month, showing the U.S. labor market held up as lawmakers struggled to resolve the fiscal impasse, economists said before a report this week.
Payrolls rose by 150,000 workers after a 146,000 gain in November, according to the median forecast of 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of Labor Department figures due Friday. The unemployment rate may have held at 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008.
“Job growth around 150,000 is a decent way to end the year,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pa. “Businesses are worried but not panicked. We’ll see much stronger employment gains in the second half of 2013.”
Other reports this week that are projected to show stability in manufacturing and expansion in the services industry underscore a resilient economy.
The Labor Department’s report this week will show that private employment, which excludes government agencies, climbed by 153,000 in December following a 147,000 increase, economists predicted.
Stabilizing global and U.S. demand may be reflected in other data this week. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, due Wednesday, will show a rise to 50.3 in December from 49.5 the prior month, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Fifty is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Bigger gains at factories may be hard to attain as companies await clarity on taxes and government spending. While gross domestic product rose at a 3.1 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest this year, corporate spending on equipment and software fell by the most since the second quarter of 2009.
A report Friday may show the Tempe, Ariz.-based ISM group’s services index, which covers almost 90 percent of the economy, also sustained growth. Economists forecast the measure came in at 54.3 in December after the prior month’s 54.7 reading.