December had the fewest layoffs since the government began tracking the data in 2000. Also, the most people quit their jobs during the month since June 2008, another sign that job growth and consumer confidence may start to pick up steam this year.
"These points go against the popular notion that the economy ground to a halt while DC negotiated the Fiscal Cliff late last year, and supports the hope domestic labor markets can continue to improve in 2013," wrote Beth Reed of ConvergEx Group, whose strategy team wrote about the Bureau of Labor Statistics data in a report to clients Wednesday.
"If lawmakers can reach consensus in Washington and allow businesses a sense of economic stability, then job growth might actually accelerate," she added.
Layoffs totaled 1.57 million in December, the fewest since the BLS started releasing the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey in 2000.
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The data showed 2.16 million people quit their jobs, representing 53 percent of all job separations when one accounts for those that just retired, according to ConvergEx.
"Our 'Take this Job and Shove It" indicator of current/future consumer confidence hit a recovery high," stated Reed. "You're not going to quit your job if you have no faith in your own economic status."
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The official jobs report released earlier this month showed that the unemployment rate climbed back to 7.9 percent in January, from 7.8 percent in December. ConvergEx's indicator suggests that should start to head down again this month.
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