Saturday, 3 December 2011

US unemployment rate falls, Europe prepares yet another plan

US employment continued to recover in November. Bloomberg reports the latest employment report:

Job gains in the U.S. picked up last month and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to the lowest level since March 2009, a decline augmented by the departure of Americans from the labor force.

Payrolls climbed 120,000, after a revised 100,000 increase in October, with more than half the hiring coming from retailers and temporary help agencies, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 125,000 gain. The jobless rate declined to 8.6 percent from 9 percent. Revisions to prior reports added a total of 72,000 jobs to payrolls in September and October.

Some of the underlying numbers were not as good though. Average hourly earnings fell 0.1 percent and the average work week for all workers was unchanged at 34.3 hours.

In Europe, the news on Friday continued to provide some hope for stabilisation of the debt crisis. Bloomberg reports:

A European proposal to channel central bank loans through the International Monetary Fund may deliver as much as 200 billion euros ($270 billion) to fight the debt crisis, two people familiar with the negotiations said.

At a Nov. 29 meeting attended by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, euro-area finance ministers gave the go- ahead for work on the plan, said the people, who declined to be named because the talks are at an early stage...

... Draghi yesterday hinted at a stepped-up crisis- fighting role as long as governments move toward a “fiscal compact” that ensures healthy public finances.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid out elements of that strategy today, calling for European treaty amendments to create automatic, court-enforced sanctions on countries that overstep limits of 3 percent of gross domestic product on deficits and 60 percent of GDP on debt.

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