The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 3, 2012

U.S. economy adds 171K jobs

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The nascent housing recovery is finally generating jobs. Construction companies added 17,000 jobs, the most since January. Manufacturers added 13,000 jobs after shedding 27,000 in the previous two months.

Professional services such as architects and computer systems providers also added jobs. So did retailers, hotels and restaurants, and health care.

Vocus Inc., based in Beltsville-Md., has ramped up hiring this year to keep up with the rapid growth in demand for its digital marketing software. It has nearly doubled its staff this year to about 750. Most of the new hires have been sales positions. It plans to hire at least 200 more people next year.

The company is benefiting as more businesses switch from newspaper ads and the yellow pages to social media and online search engines. Vocus expects revenue to jump more than 50 percent this year compared to 2011.

Companies “are still willing to make investments in marketing software,” Rick Rudman, Vocus’ chief executive, said. “We’re helping people grow their businesses.”

The economy has shown many signs of picking up a bit. Americans are buying more high-cost items, like cars and appliances. Auto companies reported steady sales gains last month despite losing three days of business to the storm in heavily populated areas of the Northeast.

Yet businesses remain nervous about the economy’s future course. Many are concerned that Congress will fail to reach a budget deal before January. If lawmakers can’t strike an agreement, sharp tax increases and spending cuts will take effect next year and weaken the economy.

American companies are also nervous about the economic outlook overseas. Europe’s financial crisis has pushed much of that region into recession and cut into U.S. exports and corporate profits.

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