U.S. Employment Figures Beat Expectations: 263,000 Jobs Were Created in November

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    The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate was steady at 3.7 percent, according to the Labor Department on Friday.

    Economic forecasters had anticipated the economy to create more than 200,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate stayed unchanged in the range of 3.7 percent. The forecasted range of economists interviewed by Econoday was an increase in payrolls of between 150,000 and 275,000. For unemployment, the forecasted range varied from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

    The Labor Department's “Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey” revealed 10.3 million job openings at the end of October. That's roughly 1.7 job openings for every unemployed person. Federal Reserve officials frequently cite the vacancy ratio as proof that the job market is so tight that it risks fueling inflation.

    The demand for workers from employers has been robust, resulting in a rise in employment and job vacancies, despite the Federal Reserve (the Fed) hiking interest rates at the fastest rate in decades. The Fed's lowest band for the benchmark rate rose from zero at the beginning of the year to 3.75 percent as of today. And the Fed is likely to announce a 50-basis-point increase at its December meeting.

    “In the labor market, demand for workers far exceeds the supply of available workers, and nominal wages have been growing at a pace well above what would be consistent with 2 percent inflation over time. Thus, another condition we are looking for is the restoration of balance between supply and demand in the labor market,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said this week.

    The labor supply has been consistently below pre-pandemic levels, with a higher percentage of Americans choosing to stay out of the workforce. The Labor Department said on Friday that both the labor-force participation rate, at 62.1 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.9 percent, were little changed in November and have shown little net change since early this year.

    Leisure and hospitality added 88,000 jobs, which includes an increase of 62,000 jobs in bars and restaurants. Healthcare created 45,000 new jobs. The number of government employees increased by 42,000, of whom 32,000 were in local governments. Construction employment increased by 20,000, despite the downturn in the property market. The manufacturing sector added 14,000 new jobs, which is less than half of the monthly average this year. Despite news reports about layoffs in the tech industry, information-technology companies created 19,000 new jobs.

    The number of jobs in transportation and warehousing dropped by 15,000 during November and has decreased by 38,000 since July. Retail employment fell by 3,000 in November. General merchandise stores shed 32,000 jobs, while electronics and appliance stores lost 4,000 jobs, and furniture stores reduced their payrolls by 3,000. But car dealerships created 10,000 new jobs. Retail employment decreased by 62,000 jobs since August.

    The average hourly wage for all employees working on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.6 percent. In the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 5.1 percent, which is significantly lower than what inflation rates are. In November, the average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory staff increased by 0.7 percent.

    The numbers for the previous months were revised in opposite directions. September’s were revised downward by 46,000, from 315,000 to 269,000. October’s were revised upward by 23,000, from 261,000 to 284,000. The revisions meant that the combined gains in employment for September and October were lower by 23,000 than the previously announced figures.

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