Still, companies kept creating jobs last month at a modest pace. Employers added 146,000 jobs in November. That suggests businesses may not be too nervous about the fiscal cliff. And if a budget deal can be reached to avoid the cliff, most analysts expect hiring and economic growth could accelerate next year.
U.S. automakers had their best sales month in nearly five years in November. The housing market is recovering steadily. And a resolution of the fiscal cliff could lead businesses to buy more industrial machinery and other heavy equipment. That would generate more manufacturing jobs.