Despite recent disappointing job gains, the nation's economy will see continued steady growth averaging 3.9 percent during 2005, according to Freddie Mac's latest economic outlook. November's labor market report was weaker than had been hoped for: only an 112,000 gain in payroll employment coupled with a cumulative 54,000 downward revision to the two prior months. As usual, nearly all the job gains were in the service sector (104,000 in November), and the construction sector increased hiring for the 21st time in 23 months. The unemployment rate nudged downward a tenth to 5.4 percent. The national unemployment rate has remained in a narrow band of 5.4 percent to 5.6 percent since April and is unlikely to move lower without more substantial job creation. Consumer spending in October rose...
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