U.S. job gains top expectations in November


The November jobs report is out and it’s a beat.

In November, the U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs, more than expected by economists, while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%.

Wall Street economists were forecasting nonfarm payroll gains of 195,000 in November, down from October’s 261,000 jobs added to the economy; this figure was revised down slightly on Friday to show that 244,000 jobs were created in October. The unemployment rate, which fell to its lowest since December 2000 in October, was expected to remain unchanged at 4.1%.

Wage gains were disappointing, however, rising 0.2% over the prior month and 2.5% over last year. Economists were forecasting average hourly earnings to rise 0.3% over last month and 2.7% over last year.

Signs of a pickup in wages have been closely tracked by economists in recent years for any indication that inflation pressures are building in the economy, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise rates faster than expected.

Friday’s report comes just a few days before the Fed’s next monetary policy decision, set for Wednesday, December 13, at which the central bank is widely expected to announce its third interest rate increase of the year.

Other numbers markets were keeping an eye on in Friday’s report included the labor force participation rate, which held steady at 62.7% in November, and the underemployment rate — which captures those out of work as well as those who are working part-time but want full-time work — which rose slightly to 8% in November after hitting a 10-year low of 7.9% in October.

Following the release of Friday’s report, U.S. stock futures were higher with Dow futures up 67 points, S&P 500 futures up 8 points, and Nasdaq futures up 38 points.

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