The latest figures from the United States Department of Labor battered investor sentiment on Friday, as the unemployment rate actually rose slightly to 9.8 percent, with a total of 15.1 million unemployed persons according to the headline "U-3" unemployment figure.
Weekly hours stayed basically flat at an average 34.3 hours per week for all private employees, and average hourly earnings increased by just 1 cent in November, up to $22.75 per hour.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased, by a fairly minimal 39,000 jobs.
The U.S. economy seems unable to shake off its weakness and anemia, and it's having a negative effect on global equities markets. While retail spending, corporate profits and some wages appear to be rising, employment – though it is a lagging indicator – can't seem to move the needle. Productivity gains have been immense in recent years – meaning that companies have gotten used to squeezing more from their existing workers, and may not want to invest in more staff.
As long as they don't, however, full recovery is a remote possibility.
Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures slid 50 points to 11,313, while S&P 500 index futures dropped 6 points to 1,216.70 at 9:14 a.m. EST.
Nasdaq 100 index futures declined 11 points to 2,176.
In Asia, Nikkei 225 index futures retreated 70 points to 10,120, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures declined 120 points to 23,270 at 3:15 a.m. EST.
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