Economy added 155,000 jobs in November

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Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 jobs in November, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Ahead of the Labor Department report released Friday, economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 199,000 jobs were added last month, which would have been in line with average growth across the previous 10 months this year.

While the report contained some good news for workers, worries that the current pace of economic growth may not be sustainable has rattled markets in recent weeks.

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.

By contrast, the stock markets, which President Trump had pointed to as symbolic of business confidence, have turned sour this week, almost wiping out the year's gains with a massive drop.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000, extending the record streak of net job additions in the U.S. to its 98th month.

Though the unemployment rate remains at a historically low 3.7 percent, there are plenty of potential workers on the sidelines who could contribute to employment growth in the future.

Job gains were strongest in healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. October wage gains were revised down to 0.1 percent from the previously reported 0.2 percent.

This jobs report came at a tumultuous time for financial markets, as Wall Street investors tried to unravel whether the sell-off in stocks was symptomatic of economic malaise and amid concern the Federal Reserve was raising interest rates too quickly. The normal week's worth of work tumbled to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours in October. After revisions, job gains have averaged 170,000 per month over the last three months. So far in 2018, the economy has added at least 100,000 jobs every month and is on track to do so for a full calendar year for just the second time since 2000. Jobs data from October was revised downward from 250,000 to 237,000.

"If household income had not increased compared with a year ago, rising mortgage rates, which jumped from 3.9 to 4.9 percent over the last year, would have reduced consumer house-buying power by $42,000", he says. The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last month appeared to signal the central bank's three-year tightening cycle was drawing to a close, saying its policy rate was now "just below" the range of policymakers' estimates of a level that neither cools nor boosts a healthy economy. "However, it's hard to expect the economy to sustain over 200,000 jobs each month while maintaining such a low unemployment rate, especially given the impact of wildfires and the continuation of tariffs and trade policy changes".

Retailers responded by adding 18,200 positions in November, the highest number in six months.

"The outlook for next year is for slower hiring, but not a halt in job creation", Hamrick said.

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