By Isaac Cohen*
The US economy is closing 2014 with a robust performance, exceptional among the other advanced economies. The latest employment figures, released last week by the Labor Department, revealed the creation of 321,000 new, non agricultural jobs in November, unseen since January 2012.
So far, in the first eleven months of this year, total job creation reached 2.65 million, the best figure of this century, comparable to the boom year of 1999. Over the past 11 months, the monthly rate of job creation has averaged 241,000. Still, the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, because 119,000 persons joined the work force.
Even salaries, which have lagged behind throughout the years of slow recovery increased slightly, 0.4 percent in November, the best payroll growth in 34 months. Additionally, all sectors registered job gains, including government hiring, which increased by 7,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, the good news in the labor market have been joined by the Christmas dividend generated by the steep fall in gasoline prices, which will contribute this end year and in 2015 to increase consumer demand for other products.
Looking ahead, if the vigorous performance persists, next year’s big question is when the central bank will decide to start the expected interest rate increase.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.