US gets employment boost as consumer confidence rockets

Ben Southwood
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US EMPLOYERS added a slew of employees to their payrolls between September and October, data revealed yesterday.

And America also received a boost from a key measure of consumer confidence, which rose to a four year high.

The Conference Board’s index of morale rose to 72.2, up from 68.4 in September.

Meanwhile total US non-farm private employment climbed 158,000, according to Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

The picture varied according to sector, however, with just 14,000 extra jobs in goods producing industries, compared to 144,000 in the service sector.

And manufacturing employment actually fell 8,000.

Separate Institute of Supply Management (ISM) data also suggested the manufacturing sector was having some trouble shifting out of first gear and accelerating into full recovery mode. ISM’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) business survey for October was 51.7, an increase of 0.2 on September, but still only suggesting moderate expansion – 50 indicates no change in conditions. Still, the improvement is encouraging after the declines seen in June, July and August.

And a big jump in planned layoffs also pointed to weaker than hoped for recovery. US-based companies planned to lay off 47,724 employees in October, Challenger Gray & Christmas revealed, a surge of 41 per cent compared to September.

And productivity climbed 1.9 per cent in October, measured at an annualised pace, the Labor Department said yesterday.