Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) received a major lift at the open this morning from a much better-than-expected report on employment from the U.S. Labor Department.
In the strongest jobs report since December 2007, the government reported that the nation’s employers had all but stopped shedding jobs in November, losing only 11,000 jobs. This number came as a surprise to most economists, writes Javier C. Hernandez for The New York Times.
The government also reported that the official unemployment rate fell from 10.2% in October to 10% in November. The Labor Department also significantly revised the September and October numbers in a positive direction. September was adjusted to show a loss of 139,000 jobs instead of 219,000 and October showed a loss of 111,000 instead of 190,000.
This positive report on jobs should take some of the immediate pressure off of President Barack Obama to come up with a jobs creation program. However, the economy is still showing only modest signs of recovery, which may keep the employment outlook weak for months to come. (For more stories about the Obama administration, please see our Obama category).
In a reversal of recent trends, the U.S. dollar is also up sharply this morning, along with the stock market. The strong jobs numbers have convinced some traders that the labor market has turned in the United States. This, in turn, has led these traders to expect that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than expected next year, reports Steve Goldstein for MarketWatch. (For more stories on the U.S. dollar, please visit our U.S. dollar category).