U.S. employers added 178,000 new non-farm jobs during November, according to a government employment report that’s only surprise was a sharp decline in the unemployment rate to 4.6 percent.
Today’s monthly report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed private-sector employers added 156,000 jobs. The service sector accounted for 139,000. Goods producers accounted for 17,000, nearly all of them in the construction sector. Government added 22,000 workers, the majority of those hired by cities, towns, and counties.
Job growth was right where economists were forecasting, though they weren’t expecting a decline in October’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate. November’s rate is at the lowest level since August 2007.
A broader measure of under- and unemployment, the so-called U-6 measure, also declined from 9.5 percent in October to 9.3 percent.
“A solid report but not quite as good as the headline numbers would indicate,” one senior economist told The New York Times. There’s mixed news there,” Gus Faucher, deputy chief economist at PNC, said.
The decline in unemployment was due more to a reduction in the size of the labor force than to the unemployed finding work, he said. And average hourly wages declined by 3 cents to $25.89, following an 11-cent increase in October. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent.
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The biggest job gains in November came in health care, which added 28,400 jobs with ambulatory services accounting for 22,200. Other gainers and losers:
- Leisure and hospitality +29,000, bars and restaurants adding 18,900.
- Accounting and bookkeeping services +17,700
- Employment services +21,300 with temp staffing agencies adding 14,300.
- Retail shed 8,300 jobs with clothing and clothing accessories stores cutting 17,600 jobs.
- Information -10,000. The sector includes publishing, telecom, motion pictures and broadcasting.
- Manufacturing -6,000