National inflation and unemployment remains high

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On December 7th, the BLS released its final “The Employment Situation” report of 2012, just four weeks after Superstorm Sandy struck the northeastern United States. The hurricane was anticipated to negatively impact national employment figures, potentially leading to thousands of layoffs, but, according to the BLS’ latest jobs report, hiring remained robust in November.

The report revealed that 146,000 new jobs were generated last month, roughly 50,000 to 70,000 more than some economists had expected, as the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, the lowest rate recorded since President Obama’s inauguration.

Shortly after the release of the employment report, Canada and Mexico’s most recent financial figures were also publicized. Did unemployment decline in Canada last month as well? Were Canadian firms’ purchases higher in November than in October? Was Mexican inflation still above average? And, did the Banco de Mexico’s board of governors lower the central bank rate for the first time since 2009?

Last month, Canadian economists were disappointed with the nation’s latest employment data, which revealed that the national unemployment rate remained unchanged for the second straight month in October, at 7.4 percent, as 1,800 jobs were created. To compare, an average of 43,200 jobs were generated between August and September. But, according to Statistics Canada’s recently released employment figures, the national unemployment rate decelerated in November, dropping to 7.2 percent, as 59,300 jobs were added to the economy. A majority of those positions were full-time, roughly 55,200 in all, as 14.3 million Canadians were considered full-time employees, while nearly 19 million citizens were members of the labor force. Since November 2011, the economy has created 24,500 new jobs per month, on average.

Meanwhile, for the first month since June, the national Ivey Purchasing Managers’ Index was measured below 50, indicating that less firms reported higher purchases in November than in October. At 47.5, November’s index was the lowest of 2012, despite the fact that three of the index’s four sub-indices, inventories, suppliers, and prices, rose last month, climbing to 55.6, 47.9, and 62.9, respectively. Such increases indicate that firms remain optimistic, despite the current conditions of the global economy.

During its final meeting of 2012, the Banco de Mexico’s board of directors decided to retain the national central bank rate at 4.50 percent for the 40th consecutive month in November. Some economists had projected the rate would be lowered, due to the nation’s presently high annual inflation. Back in October, the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) was measured at 106.3, a 4.6 percent upsurge when compared to October 2011’s figures. The index continued to increase in November, measuring at 107.0, a 4.2 percent rise in comparison to November 2011’s data.

According to the Banco de Mexico, on a year-ago basis, total underlying inflation increased by 4.1 percent, while underlying inflation – goods and underlying inflation – services rose by 5.2 and 3.2 percent, respectively. In the meantime, annual core inflation continued to augment, rising by 0.05 percent from October to November and by 3.3 percent from November 2011 to November 2012. As long as annual inflation remains high, many economists anticipate the bank’s board of governors will vote to lower the nation’s central bank rate during the first quarter of 2013.

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