Payrolls in the U.S. are poised to grow by about 200,000 a month, double the pace so far this year, said John Ryding of RDQ Economics in New York.
“We’re really signaling a stronger jobs picture,” Ryding, the firm’s chief economist and co-founder, said today in a radio interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene.
While the pace of job growth is “Not strong enough to make major inroads in the unemployment rate,” he said, it “would be quite welcome as another baby step along the road to a stronger economic recovery.”
Employment increased by 145,000 workers this month after a 151,000 gain in October that marked the biggest advance since May, according to the median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department data on Dec. 3.
The jobless rate was 9.6 percent for a fourth consecutive month in November, according the survey median. It would be the 16th month of joblessness at 9.5 percent or higher, the longest such stretch since records began in 1948. The worst recession since the 1930s caused the loss of 8.4 million jobs.
Ryding cited improvement in claims for unemployment benefits as evidence the job market is on the mend. Claims declined by 34,000 to 407,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance decreased to the lowest in two years, and those on extended payments also fell.
“The four-week average is now down below the level it was at when the Lehman crisis broke in September 2008,” he said. The overall economy is “on a bit of an upswing here.”
Initial reports from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend suggest U.S. consumers are boosting their spending, Ryding said. About 212 million shoppers went to stores and websites over the holiday weekend, on average spending $365.34, the National Retail Federation said yesterday.
“The consumer is showing that they are willing to spend, not at a spectacular pace,” Ryding said. “By all accounts, it looks like we’re getting” close to 3 percent spending growth.
At the same time, small businesses have been reluctant to invest and hire, partly because of concern that tax rates will rise next year unless Congress extends reductions enacted under President George W. Bush, which expire Dec. 31.
“One other thing that would help is tax certainty,” Ryding said. “We are therefore 33 days away from the end of the year. And we do not know what the tax rates are going to be in 2011.”
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