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Average Hours Worked Dips in September

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The average hours worked, a leading indicator of employment growth, dipped in September.

Looking for signs of a jobs recovery on the horizon?

The rising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and surging stock markets are encouraging and usually precede a hiring surge, but the most telling sign job growth is around the corner remains to be seen, said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, in an op-ed in today’s New York Times.

It is conceivable that businesses will resume hiring soon. Employment growth historically lags a pickup in gross domestic product. But firms typically increase production by first increasing workers’ hours and adding temporary help. Neither has happened so far: working hours remain stuck at a record low of 33 hours a week, and the number of temporary jobs is still in decline (nearly a million have been lost in the past three years).

The average weekly hours of production worked actually dipped slightly to 33 in September from 33.1 in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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