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Jobs Up — But Not Much

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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