Employment Surge Raises Hopes for US Economy

11 November 2003

New employment figures suggest the long-suffering US jobs market may finally be on the mend.

The Labor Department found that nationwide non-farm employment climbed by 126,000 in October, having risen 125,000 in September. Despite continuing falls in the manufacturing sector, these are the largest consecutive monthly job rises since the end of 2000.

There are indications that the retail sector may add to this trend as Christmas approaches. Unlike the last two years, stores are expecting a healthy holiday season, and are preparing to take on extra staff to cope. There were signs of this in October, when retail employment jumped 30,000 from the month before.

The expanding workforce is significant because until now persistent weakness in the jobs market has been seen as one of the biggest threats to a full economic recovery.

• Separately, there were more positive signs for US growth as consumers hiked their borrowing.

According to the Federal Reserve, Americans borrowed an extra $15.1 billion (€13.2bn; £9.0bn) between August and September, an annualised growth rate of 9.7%. This was the biggest rise so far this year. Total consumer debt now stands at $1.97 trillion.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff