The Daily Banter Headline Grab. From the WaPo:
The unemployment rate dipped and job creation remained steady in November, as the U.S. economy shrugged off any major impact from Hurricane Sandy and showed surprising resilience in the run-up to the fiscal cliff.
The November jobs report, released Friday morning, was a pleasant surprise to analysts who had braced for some ugly numbers for a period when much of the Northeast was reeling from the superstorm. In fact, the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent, and the nation added 146,000 jobs, not the mere 85,000 that forecasters had expected.
The report contained some ominous elements, as well, however. The jobless rate dropped in large part because the labor force fell by 350,000, suggesting people gave up looking for work. The number of people saying they had a job actually fell by 122,000. And the Labor Department revised downward its estimates of job creation in September and October by a combined 49,000.
Add it all up, and the conclusion is this: The trend that we thought was underway — of a U.S. economy growing steadily but at an unspectacular pace — remains underway, and was not undone either by the hurricane or by anticipation of looming austerity, the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, barring a compromise deal to avert them.