By Anthony Silva |Staff Writer|
Companies are hiring again, but spending habits in America remain sluggish.
Americans are still feeling the effects of the recession since consumer spending remains low despite the improving economy.
The U.S. added 248,000 jobs in September with another 245,000 expected to be added in October. These two months were the strongest since the recession ended in 2009, according to a CNN report.
If the October numbers are correct, this would mark the eighth month in a row with a gain of over 200,000 jobs, an increase that has not been accomplished since 1997.
In addition to the rise in employment, American workers are putting in longer workplace and are also receiving higher wages, according to CNN.
The growing workforce in America is not having the effect on spending trends that economists had hoped for.
Economists believe consumers may be saving more money out of fear of another economic downturn in the future.
“The news keeps saying that the economy is getting better but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I know a lot of people that can’t find jobs or that have trouble making a living,” said student Josh Cosgrove.
A recent Market Watch study revealed that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is actually much higher than the official rate of 5.9 percent.
If the unemployment rate included those who have had such a hard time finding work that they’ve stopped looking, the rate would rise to 11.8 percent, according to Market Watch.
In California, the unemployment rate stands a little higher than the national rate at 7.4 percent. A California Department of Finance report stated that California’s job market has been heavily influenced by declines in the housing market and construction industries.
“I’m usually pretty hesitant to splurge on anything these days because I feel like I need to save my money more than ever,” said student Jonathan Madrid.
The rising stock market has been another positive sign for the economy, however, a Citibank report indicated that most financial gains were attributed to wealthier households that don’t need to spend more so the impact wouldn’t be as strong as expected.
One sign experts are pointing to as a vote of consumer confidence is that auto sales are on the rise. Lower gas prices and interest rates led to a total of 16.46 million cars sold as of Nov. 1, which is higher than the total sales from 2013 of 16.38 million, according to USA Today.
Economists are hopeful that the steady rise in both auto sales and the stock market will continue through the end of the year and that consumer confidence will follow.