EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 23, 2013

US hiring might not accelerate if economy doesn't speed up

(Continued)

A category that includes hotels, restaurants and entertainment companies, such as amusement parks, has added just 5,000 jobs over the past three months. That’s down from 146,000 over the previous three months.

Retailers are still hiring. But the 21,000 positions they added in September were the fewest in six months.

The slowdown may reflect an ongoing response to the tax increases that took effect this year, Koropeckyj said. Americans are taking home less pay because of a 2 percentage point increase in Social Security taxes. A person earning $50,000 a year has about $1,000 less to spend this year. A household with two high-paid workers has up to $4,500 less. Income taxes for upper-income households also rose.

Consumer confidence plummeted during the government shutdown to the lowest level in nearly two years, according to Gallup. And pay raises have been slight: Average hourly pay rose just 2.1 percent in September from 12 months earlier. That’s barely keeping up with historically low inflation. Many economists estimate that the partial government shutdown cut $25 billion out of the economy and slowed growth to about a 2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter. That’s weaker than estimates before the shutdown that the economy would expand at a 2.5 percent annual rate this quarter.

The shutdown delayed the release of the September jobs report for 18 days. It will also delay the scheduled release of the October jobs report by a week, until Nov. 8.

In the meantime, the still-tight job market has discouraged many Americans from seeking jobs. The percentage of Americans who are working or looking for work remained at a 35-year low last month.

That helps explain why the unemployment rate dipped to a still-high 7.2 percent in September from 7.3 percent in August. The government doesn’t count people without a job as unemployed unless they’re looking for one. The drop in unemployment from 7.9 percent at the start of the year has occurred mainly because many people aren’t actively seeking jobs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message $5M Bond Set for Teens in Homeless Killings New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Obama Calls for Immediate Access to Crash Site Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Native American Teens Get Taste of College Legendary Actor James Garner Dies Raw: Eric Garner's Wife Collapses at Rally in NY Raw: Texas Gov. Rick Perry Visits Iowa Raw: High Winds Push Growing Washington Widlfire
Latest World News
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Today in History for July 22nd Raw: Black Boxes of Downed Jetliner Turned Over UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike Raw: Gaza City Shelling Attack Today in History for July 21st Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up Deadliest Day Yet of Israel-Gaza Fighting Ukraine Rebels: Black Boxes Will Be Returned Today in History for July 20th Raw: Crews Begin Moving Bodies at Jet Crash Site Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Raw: Israeli Defense Forces Strike Gaza Tunnel Raw: Aftermath of Israeli Airstrike on Gaza
Photos of the Week