December 9, 2019 — November Jobs and Wages Rise, as Unemployment Falls


The Labor Department announced the US job market strengthened noticeably in November. 266,000 new jobs were added last month, the fastest pace since January, when 312,000 jobs were added. Jobs grew at an average of 205,000 in the last three months through November, a pick-up from earlier this year, but still below the average monthly gain of 223,000 experienced in 2018. There have been 110 straight months of gains. 

Wages are up 3.1 percent from a year ago, but below the peak gain of 3.4 percent in February. Wage gains are still outpacing inflation, but they remain modest as compared to other periods with historically low unemployment. A stronger pace could help the broader, consumer-driven US economy which is still expanding, but at a slower pace than last year. 

The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent to 3.5%, matching September as the lowest level of unemployment seen since 1969. 

The central bank meets this week to discuss interest rates; they have signaled they are done lowering rates unless they see a significant downturn in economic activity.  No investors are expectting a December reduction, while only 11 percent believe one is likely in January.

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