Private Sector Posts Best Job Gains in Three Years

The 10th consecutive month of gains offered hope that the job sector, still convalescing after a brutal economic recession, was on the mend.

Payrolls expanded by 93,000 in November -- the largest jump in three years, payrolls firm ADP said on Dec. 1

"This month's ADP national employment report shows an acceleration of employment and suggests the nation's employment situation is brightening somewhat," the firm said.

The 10th consecutive month of gains offered hope that the job sector, still convalescing after a brutal economic recession, was on the mend.

But ADP warned "employment gains of this magnitude are not sufficient to lower the unemployment rate." The unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.6%in October for the third month in a row.

That echoes concerns by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who on Nov. 30 warned current high levels of unemployment could become entrenched and have a "very long-term effect" on the U.S. economy.

Describing job creation as "probably the most important economic issue facing America today," Bernanke cautioned on the risks of long-term unemployment.

With nearly 10% of the U.S. workforce unemployed for more than six months, fears are growing that high jobless rates may be more than a temporary result of a brutal recession.

"This is very unusual and very worrisome," Bernanke said, warning that workers could become detached from the workforce, skills could erode over time and firms become more skeptical about the unemployed.

"This could have a very long-term effect on people's wages, on their employability," Bernanke said.

He added the world's largest economy was not growing fast enough to handle even the number of people entering the workforce, with 2% to 2.5% growth needed to just to keep up.

The Fed has predicted gross domestic product growth will hit 2.4%-2.5% this year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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