November Hiring Slowed To 155K Jobs, Unemployment Rate Stayed 3.7 Percent


USA job growth moderated in November, with non-farm payrolls coming in at about 155,000 for the month - down from the 190,000 that analysts had predicted - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained 3.7 percent, almost a five-decade low, for the third straight month.

It's jobs day! The U.S. economy created 155,000 jobs in November. More broadly, USA payrolls have grown for 98 straight months, by far the longest stretch of steady hiring on record.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% month-on-month and 3.1% year-on-year, with the latter matching its highest growth rate since April 2009.

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

The continued hiring and wage increases are expected to support the U.S. Federal Reserve to further raise its benchmark interest rates in December. But it suggests the Fed may not hike rates next year as rapidly as many investors have feared.

"The headline in today's jobs report came in on the soft side, as weakening hiring and a net downward revision in the prior two months sent the three-month average payroll gain to the weakest pace in a year", says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, in a statement.

Nationwide, hiring in November was led by health care firms, which added 40,100 jobs, and manufacturing companies, which hired 27,000 new workers, the most in seven months and a sign that trade tensions have yet to weaken factory hiring.

"Our economy is now performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages, " said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday.

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The number of long-term unemployed declined by 120,000, suggesting that numerous new jobs went to people who had been out of work for more than 27 weeks. Since President Trump was elected in November 2016, the USA economy has created 4.6 million jobs.

However, the number of people "marginally attached" to the labor force - those who had looked for a job in the past year but stopped in the past month because they couldn't find one - has risen by almost 200,000 over the past year.

The ongoing job gains are pushing down unemployment rates to historically low levels for a variety of groups.

Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 200,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after surging 250,000 in October.

Minutes of the Fed's November policy meeting published last week showed almost all officials agreed another rate increase was "likely to be warranted fairly soon", but also opened debate on when to pause further hikes.

Retailers added 18,000 jobs in November. Online spending has lifted shipping and warehousing jobs, which grew 25,400, the largest in 14 months. The unemployment rate for men aged 20 and above fell last month to 3.3 percent the lowest in 18 years.

Construction saw a steep slowdown in November, said Martha Gimbel, research director for the Hiring Lab at Indeed, an employment website.

The housing market, on the other hand, has stumbled throughout 2018 as the Fed's rate hikes have contributed to sharply higher mortgage rates. Payrolls have now grown for 98 straight months.