Yes, the jobs report was OK, but it fell short of expectations with the economy adding 155,000 new nonfarm jobs in November. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payroll growth of 198,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady. The numbers could be a red flag. With the expansion now twice as long as the normal post-World War II recovery, and with worries about trade and interest rates ebbing and flowing sometimes by the hour, it's time for a reminder — your job could still be at risk.
General Motors and its 15,000 layoffs last week are only one example, says Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the Chicago outplacement firm whose monthly surveys of corporate layoffs are closely watched. Unemployment-insurance claims for newly-fired workers hit a six-month high in late November, and Challenger says layoffs at the larger companies it tracks are nearing 500,000 year through November, with big names like Verizon Communications and the bankrupt toy chain Toys-R-Us making cuts.