November Jobs Report: 155,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Steady At 3.7 Percent

Lynne Sladky  AP

Lynne Sladky AP

US employers added 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market.

November's report showed the unemployment rate unchanged, at 3.7 percent, the lowest in nearly 50 years, and wage growth ticked up to 3.1 percent - partly due to an increase in minimum wage by retail giant Amazon - matching the heady gain in October, which saw wage gains spike at the fastest pace since 2009.

The November gain in jobs was concentrated in health care, manufacturing, transportation, and white-collar businesses.

Employment gains in September and October combined were 12,000 less than previously reported.

"It's not like 155,000 is a bad number, but it's below what people were looking for", said Michael Feroli, chief USA economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. That would leave the annual increase in wages at 3.1 percent, matching October's jump, which was the biggest gain since April 2009. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payroll growth of 198,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady.

The most recent data shows an economy in solid shape. Hiring has averaged 170,000 per month for the past three months.

WASHINGTON-U.S. businesses added a smaller yet still healthy number of jobs in November, while the unemployment rate remains at a five-decade low and wages rose solidly.

"News from the jobs report was far from rosy for the real estate sector, as construction hiring posted the worst showing since March", Duncan said. Today on the show, six jobs that once paid more than the average wage, and now pay less than average. And the rate for Americans with just high school diplomas dropped to 3.5%, the lowest since December 2000. But she pursued training as phlebotomist, and earlier this year Johns Hopkins Medicine hired her as a technician. Lee was able to purchase a home in June for her two children. "I've overcome a lot, and I want to build a better foundation for my children". Online spending has lifted shipping and warehousing jobs, which grew 25,400, the largest in 14 months. The rate, known as the U-6, has trended this year at the lowest level in 18 years.

Ongoing job gains are pushing down unemployment rates to historically low levels for a variety of population groups. Relative to the 83.0 percent prime-age labor force participation rate prior to Great Recession in 2007, the current 82.2 percent rate reflects the continued non-participation of 1 million prime-age Americans. The share of American adults working or looking for work to held steady at 62.9%. The Fed in its "Beige Book" report this week said most business contacts in its 12 districts said "that employment growth leaned to the slower side of a modest to moderate pace" because of labor shortages. Paychecks grew by 3.1% over the a year ago, a relatively robust number that is in line with expectations as employers have had to fight to attract workers in recent months.

The economic analysis firm said in a client note that, should a single policymaker on the Fed's rate-setting committee take a softer stance, the median forecast for 2019 would then switch from three to two increases.

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