A much improved employment environment was highlighted by the November employment report by the Department of Labor, with nonfarm payrolls contracting by only 11,000 jobs. This is the fewest number of jobs lost in a single month since December of 2007. A consensus estimate was for loss of 100,000 making for a welcome positive surprise on the job front.
In addition, unemployment declined back to 10 percent, beating expectations of an increase to 10.2 percent.
The Securities Industry lost 900 jobs in November -- coming off of a stronger October 2009, which saw 2,700 jobs being created. This relatively benign loss is nevertheless encouraging with the job market in this industry appearing to be establishing a bottom.
September represents the year-to-date low point for total employment at 776,100 workers and so far the employment numbers have held above that level.
We are further encouraged by the level of hiring related activity and aggressive plans for next year by many employers in this industry.
Finance and Insurance
This broader sector consisting of banking, insurance and securities lost just 1,000 jobs in the month, but still hovers around the lowest employment numbers for 2009 at 5,710,000 workers.
The sharp job losses of previous months haven't been evident since the sharp drop in September. At this stage, there is a general lack of aggressive rehiring and filling of the many jobs that were lost over the past two years.
Jeff Testerman is vice president of www.brokerhunter.com.