Why is the monthly jobs report so important to the markets?
Well, the jobs report is issued every month by the Labor Department, the first Friday of every month, and it really is a key economic indicator. The report surveys 150,000 businesses and government agencies around the country, and the unemployment rate surveys 60,000 households. The jobs report basically signals output, consumer spending. So, as you can well imagine, the stock markets rise and fall based on the jobs report.
Was there anything unexpected in last week's November jobs report?
So overall, that report was, as some economists said, a blockbuster. 266,000 jobs were created in November. That was the second highest total so far this year. The unemployment rate dropped slightly to three and a half percent. That's the lowest rate in nearly half a century.