While the U.S. added more jobs than expected last month, the American economy is simply limping along, says Ball State economist Michael Hicks.
“The economy remains flat lined with the unemployment rate bouncing up and down each month, but with job creation lagging population growth,” says Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State. “So, in the best case scenario we are limping along in a way that the American standard of living is slowly declining. Under the worst case, we are in a modest recession that will get much, much worse as we fall off the fiscal cliff.
The Labor Department reported this morning that non-farm payrolls increased by 171,000 last month versus expectations of a 125,000 rise. The unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, up slightly from the 7.8 percent reported in September, as more people started looking for employment.
The number of jobs added in August and September were revised sharply higher, adding a combined 84,000 more jobs that originally reported.
“This jobs report is yet another sign that the U.S. economy is poised for a very unhappy 2013,” Hicks says.