The nation gained only 94,000 jobs in November - down sharply from the
170,000 jobs created in October, according to an early December Labor
Department report. This is another indication that the economy is
slowing. Yet, the unemployment rate held firm at 4.7 percent for the
third consecutive month. Not surprisingly, the housing sector suffered the biggest
job losses. Business and professional services actually gained 30,000
jobs. Jobs in education and healthcare were also up, and retail gained
24,000 after experiencing three consecutive months of job losses. Additionally, a University of Michigan poll shows consumer confidence
is at its lowest level in two years. Since consumer spending accounts
for 70 percent of the economy, economists are worried that a lack of
confidence will undermine spending and translate into even less hiring
and a further economic downturn.
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