USA employers added 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market.
Wages hit 3.1 percent growth over a year last month, the first time in almost a decade that wages have broken the 3 percent benchmark. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 81 cents, or about 3.1 percent.
Laurence Marzo, left, and Ty Ford, right, move a conveyor belt into place to help unload a truck carrying merchandise at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston.
United States employers added just 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market.
For most Americans, jobs and incomes are the most important economic measures. Transportation and warehousing, a category closely linked to retail, also saw gains of 25,400 in the month.
The Federal Reserve is still widely expected to raise interest rates at its regular meeting this month, moving forward with its fourth rate rise this year. This is only the 12th time since 1970 that the unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent, with seven of these occasions occurring under President Trump this year. The unemployment rate for men aged 20 and above fell last month to 3.3%, the lowest in 18 years. Recent lows were also achieved for the unemployment rate among individuals with a high school degree but no college, whose November unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent-the lowest since December 2000.
A separate gauge that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons, sometimes called the real unemployment rate, rose from 7.4 percent to 7.6 percent.
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Japan's Nikkei shed 1.9 percent - closing at its lowest level since October 30 - while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.9 percent. Markets had initially brightened this week after US and Chinese leaders agreed a temporary trade truce at a meeting on Saturday.
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Average hourly earnings are seen up 0.3 percent in November after gaining 0.2 percent in October.
Job gains averaged 170,000 per month over the past three months.
"Today's lower-than-expected job numbers may appear particularly disappointing after such a strong month in October", said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group.
However, an unusually cold November probably slowed hiring at construction sites after companies added 30,000 workers to their payrolls in October.
That's boosting consumer confidence to almost 18-year highs, spurring more spending, and bolstering winter holiday shopping. And both manufacturing and services companies expanded at a healthy pace in November, according to a pair of business surveys. The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter.
The potential for a more anemic economy contributed to a sharp drop in the stock market Friday, sending the Dow Jones average down 560 points, or 2.2%, by market close.
"The U.S. economy is facing headwinds as the year winds down", said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. -China trade war could still intensify, despite an agreement over the weekend between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping that included postponing a planned US tariff hike for 90 days.