(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If this is what a slowing labor market looks like, I'll take it.
For an economy that's been growing for almost a decade and that we know is starting to cool, 155,000 new U.S. jobs in November isn't too shabby. Sure, the figure is less than estimated, but payroll numbers tend to move around quite a bit month-to-month. It's tough to quibble with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.
The two other premier indicators that begin each calendar month, surveys of purchasing managers by the Institute for Supply Management, outperformed expectations.
So to all those who can feel themselves hyperventilating over the headlines: Please breathe in and breathe out. Find your center.
Sure, activity is cooling -- from a strong pace. Two years of interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve are going to have an effect; they are supposed to. But the Fed has signaled clearly that it won't be business as usual next year, and that a pause is in the wings.
Just what kind of labor perfection do people want? There will always be shortcomings in data, and no expansion looks exactly the same as its predecessors.
Part of what's worrying people is the way the R word is bandied about. Being on constant watch for a recession, a person would miss a lot. Of course there will be a recession! That doesn't mean it's imminent or that it's necessarily coming next year. What we do know is the U.S. expansion is on track to next year become the longest ever. The average is about five years.
Just think: Based on the norm, the U.S. ought to be in recession now. Yes, right now. That's if you believed a Bloomberg News survey of economists published late in 2015 that foreshadowed a slump in 2018. Nothing wrong with the survey per se; it reported the median forecast of 31 respondents. It does underscore the risks of taking projected dates too seriously.
The global picture isn't great, and it’s remarkable how quickly the “synchronized upswing” of economies fell out of sync. The euro region is crawling along, and the area's industrial powerhouse, Germany, is performing unevenly. China is slowing, as it has been for a decade.
The American business cycle isn't dead. People mused about that possibility in the late 1990s when the economy appeared to be a technology-driven marvel. Sure enough, that party ended in a pretty mild garden-variety recession in 2001.
This run will cease, too. While we wait for the inevitable trough, let's take November's employment numbers for what they are: solid, if unspectacular.
The sky isn't falling. Not today.
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Daniel Moss writes and edits articles on economics for Bloomberg Opinion. Previously he was executive editor of Bloomberg News for global economics, and has led teams in Asia, Europe and North America.
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