As the United States enters into the final weeks of the 2012 holiday shopping season, there are some optimistic signs that the economy is continuing its recovery from the devastating financial crisis of 2008.
The employment numbers for November show a record level of retail hiring throughout the last couple of months. Retailers reported the addition of 465,000 seasonal workers to their payroll in November. The number of jobs added in October was adjusted upwardly from 130,100 seasonal hires to 145,200.
The unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 percent to an adjusted number of 7.7 percent due to a combination of seasonably adjusted job growth and the number of people who have left the workforce completely. The new numbers have been seen as a positive step in the right direction for an economy that has been struggling to create jobs ever since the financial crisis which devastated the country in 2008.
The hiring has come from traditionally strong retailers throughout the holiday shopping season like Toys"R"Us, Target, Wal-Mart, UPS, and Amazon; all showing strong seasonal hiring numbers. Business owners, however, have expressed concern over how these numbers will be affected in 2013 because of the effects the so-called "fiscal cliff" will have on the economy.
"This sort of laser like focus on corporate-only tax reform that we keep seeing coupled with revenues on the individual side is definitely a concern for us," said James Whitcomb, a tax lawyer and business advocate.
President Obama has also made some businesses, small and big, nervous because he has repeatedly called for taxes to be raised on households that take in over $250,000 a year.
Ultimately, small and big businesses alike will be hurt if Congress and the president cannot come to an agreement on how to deal with the looming "fiscal cliff." The closer we get to January without a deal, the more uncertainty there will be, and it will negatively impact the economy and the labor market.