U.S. economy adds 263,000 jobs in November


The jobs market stayed strong last month: Employers added 263,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%, near the lowest level in a half-century, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The figures are the latest signal of a roaring labor market that continues to defy fears of a recession.

  • November’s payroll gains are above the addition of 200,000 jobs that economists had expected.

By the numbers: Job growth last month was slightly slower than the 284,000, added in October, which was revised up by 23,000. In September, the economy added 269,000 jobs, 46,000 fewer than initially estimated.

  • Average hourly earnings, a measure of wage growth, rose by 0.6% in November — faster than the prior month, when earnings rose by 0.5%. Over the past year ending in November, average hourly earnings increased by 5.1%.
  • The share of people working or looking for work, known as the labor force participation rate, ticked down to 62.1%, compared to 62.2% in October.

The backdrop: Economists have been bracing for cracks in the labor market that have yet to appear.

  • It has been an ugly stretch for layoffs in a handful of sectors like technology, with large-scale job cuts announced at MetaAmazon and Twitter.

But overall, the booming job market has continued for workers, even in the face of ultra-aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve to try to cool demand for labor to help put a lid on inflation.

  • Last month, Fed chair Jerome Powell said that employers bidding up wages to attract workers is not “the principal story of why prices are going up.”
  • Still, the labor market may point to clues about how inflation will evolve in certain categories, including industries within the services sector where wages make up the biggest costs for businesses, Powell said on Wednesday.

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