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Cloud Hangs Over U.S. Economy, Hiring Plans

MarketWatch (11/03/13) Jeffry Bartash

The recent government shutdown has made it virtually impossible for economists to determine how fast the U.S. economy is growing and how many jobs are being created. The October employment report and the first estimate of growth for the third quarter will not offer any clarity as a result. Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West, says, “We are going to need a couple of months because there is going to be so much noise in the data.”

Net jobs will decrease slightly from a preliminary increase of 148,000 in September, according to a MarketWatch poll of economists, though the extent of the decline tied to the shutdown will remain uncertain. Observers say the expected jump in the U.S. unemployment rate to as high as 7.5% will be bigger news, though much of the increase could be attributed to federal employees who were furloughed or employees temporarily laid off by private firms relying on federal contracts. November’s unemployment rate could decline, given that most of these workers are now back at work.