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Economist Sees Nov. BLS Report Adding 255,000 Jobs

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Holiday hiring and a recent uptick in restaurant sales could mean accelerating employment growth will be shown in Friday's jobs report, an economist said Monday.

Morningstar economist Robert Johnson predicted the upcoming report from the Bureau of Labor statistics will show the U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs last month, up from 214,000 reported for October.

But job gains in the retail and restaurant sectors will likely hold down wage growth, Johnson said.

The payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP) reported Wednesday that 208,000 jobs were added in November, down from 230,000 in the previous month.

"The ADP report can be plus or minus at least 40,000 jobs," Johnson said. "It's a range to drive a truck through."

Despite the ADP report, "I'm going to go out on a long limb" and predict the federal report will show accelerating job growth, Johnson said.

Big name retailers "are saying they are hiring 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 more people than usual," for the holiday season, he added. At the same time, "we've had this big increase in restaurant sales but not much growth in restaurant employment," Johnson said.

Restaurant employment levels can change quickly, according to Johnson, who expects staffing in the industry will show an uptick resulting from sales growth.

"If I'm right and the retail and the restaurants are stronger, that will tend to pull wages down," Johnson said. "But if it's low because everybody had flat wages, that's not so good."

Johnson said ADP's November data is the seventh out of the last eight months with a number over 200,000.

That suggests an annual job growth rate of 2 percent. "Certainly, we aren't falling off the cliff," he concluded.

Posted-In: Analyst Color News Econ #s


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