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Economy gathers strength as holiday shopping season approaches

Money 2If there was any doubt the economy was picking up strength as the holiday buying season approaches, the October jobs report shows ample evidence, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow for the American Institute for Economic Research.

“Any part of this report you look at, it’s a solid number, a positive trend,” Hughes said on Friday morning.

The number of new jobs was up — 214,000 nonfarm jobs, above the 200,000 job milestone for the ninth month in a row, he said.

Wages were up, modestly, but it was a gain, as was the number of hours worked, he said.

Also, according to the household portion of the survey, more people joined the labor force, looking for work, which has the potential to drive up the unemployment rate. But the number of new jobs grew faster, driving down the rate to 5.8 percent, the lowest since July 2008.

“It’s not knocking anybody’s socks off, but we’re seeing solid, steady gains,” Hughes said.

The economy is providing decent support for consumer spending, and “That’s the key virtuous cycle we’d like to see get reinforced, and get a little more momentum,” Hughes said.

In combination with rising household wealth and improving consumer confidence, AIER expects ongoing gains in consumer spending – and a healthy shopping season in December.

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