The December employment report issued on January 4 showed the weakest job growth since August of 2003, with only 18,000 jobs added in the entire non-farm jobs area and unemployment shooting up to 5 percent. Though economists had expected an increase of 58,000 jobs, the lion's share of the job losses were (not surprisingly) in construction and in related manufacturing -- a byproduct of the mortgage crises, explains Jeff Testerman, vice president of BrokerHunter.com.
With this evidence of a slowing economy, some economists are predicting a recession in 2008, while others insist we are already in one. This puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates; however, troublesome inflationary worries caused by rising oil and commodity prices and a falling dollar make future rate cuts more problematic.
The securities-industry sector lost 3,000 jobs in December, according to Testerman, and that's the biggest drop in jobs in nearly four years. December's employment report brought the 2007 results down to a growth rate for the industry of about 2.7 percent -- the weakest growth for the industry since 2005. In insurance, job growth actually increased by nearly 4,000 jobs.
Preliminary numbers for the retail group of financial services aren't available yet for December, but antidotal evidence suggests that the retail financial advisor and related support positions have been minimally affected by these economic developments, explains Testerman.
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