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Private Hiring Falters, Productivity Up

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Private Hiring Falters, Productivity Up

Private sector employers made 208,000 new hires in November, falling just shy of economists' prediction of 221,000 jobs gained, Reuters reported this morning. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees outperformed larger rivals and added 101,000 jobs. By comparison, firms with 500 or more employees added 65,000 jobs. Despite coming up short of expectations, private employers have posted 57 straight months of job gains.

In other somewhat mixed news, US employee productivity over the summer accelerated more than initially thought, climbing 2.3% for the July-September period, an upward revision by the Labor Department from its initial 2% estimate. But the Wall Street Journal points out that productivity remains weak by historical standards: in the third quarter it rose just 1% from the prior year's comparable period. Between 1995 and 2010, productivity grew an average 2.6% per year.