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Did She Or Didn’t She? Gov Report Says Sandy Had Little Effect On Jobs This Month

Despite an ADP report to the contrary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics today said that Hurricane Sandy did not “substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

That and 146,000 jobs were added to the economy, an unimpressive gain.

The good news: The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent as companies hired in retail, health care, and hospitality. And for the first time we recall, also in motion picture and sound recording (+15,000 jobs). Hey, that’s kind of like media.

The bad news: 12 million people are still unemployed, plus another 8.2 million underemployed and just under 1 million discouraged workers–those who were not officially counted as unemployed because they had given up looking for work.

Two days ago, payroll giant ADP projected a smaller increase in private-sector jobs (118,000) and said that that number would have been much, much higher if not for Sandy: “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls,” a Moodys analyst said in the report. “The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm.”

Not only that, but when offices are closed, they can’t report data, leading to an artificially lower estimate.

But the Bureau says that on that second point, you can rest easy: “Our survey response rates in the affected states were within normal ranges. Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

We kind of wish the response rates were lower. That would mean more jobs. Ah well.

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