Dec. 07 - November's job numbers were surprisingly strong with businesses adding thousands of holiday workers. Jeanne Yurman reports.
Helping to ring in the holiday season many more jobs for the U.S. labor market. U.S. employers added a surprise 146,000 new workers to payrolls in November with retail, professional and business services and temp jobs leading the way. Superstorm Sandy had only a muted effect on the month. Other data showed the jobless rate dipped to 7.7 percent, but that was due to a lower participation rate. A whole lot of Americans stopped looking for work. Companies ranging from UPS to Amazon were bulking up seasonal staff in the thousands. Stephen Gallagher, Chief U.S. Economist of Societe Generale says many U.S. firms took on holiday help encouraged by steadily improving trends in housing and the labor market. SOUNDBITE: STEPHEN GALLAGHER, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, SOCIETE GENERALE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They seemed to go into the Thanksgiving weekend with a bit more enthusiasm and confidence over how their customer performance would be. So they may have taken on additional help this year versus last year." And many companies are attracting higher quality holiday workers says Cary Leahey of Decision Economics. SOUNDBITE: CAREY LEAHEY, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There's a lot of seasonal hiring going on is because firms can get away with it. In other words they know that labor is so cowed by the bad performance of the last five years that instead of getting a full time job, you'll be happy with any job." SOUNDBITE: JEANNE YURMAN, REUTERS REPORTER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There are many other seasonal jobs other than just retail. There are accountants helping with year-end paperwork, people helping in restaurants with year-end parties. But seasonal jobs are just that: they're seasonal. So at the end of December many of them will go away." How many seasonal employees might stay on in 2013 depends on what happens with the fiscal cliff. Whatever tax policies are worked out in Washington has a huge bearing on hiring next year.