WASHINGTON — The November employment report was stronger than expected and the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the report because responses were within the normal range. The data show the labor market remains in modest recovery.

November payrolls printed up 146,000 and October-September revisions were down 49,000 in total. Hours and wages rose, suggesting rising incomes and production despite probably a few days of productivity being lost at the start of the hurricane.

Payroll composition included : manufacturing down 7,000, construction off 20,000, retail up 52,600 (almost a 466,000 rise unadjusted), wholesale grew 13,100, temporary help gained 18,000, leisure rose 23,000, healthcare increased 20,000, and government dipped 1,000.

The unemployment rate dipped another 0.2 point to 7.7% on a decline in labor force participation (the household survey was moved forward to the week of Nov. 5th due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and could have hit election firings). Nevertheless, the unemployment rate is in a slow downtrend.

There was not a surge in those at work part-time due to economic reasons, which also suggests little hurricane impact.

Bottom line: November data illustrate additional slow labor market improvement.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

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