The U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, signaling that businesses are still hiring despite signs of a slowing economy.
November’s job growth exceeded forecasts from economists who had expected companies to add about 175,000 new jobs, according to financial data firm FactSet. Employment growth is slowing from the average monthly increase of 240,000 over the last 12 months.
“This was a much better-than-expected wages report, more so because it puts to bed fears of a worsening labor market amid rising unemployment over the past several months,” Sonu Varghese, global macro strategist at Carson Group, said in an email. .
The monthly jobs report is closely watched by the Federal Reserve, which has beensince early 2022 in an effort to slow the economy and cool inflation. Most strategists now predict that the central bank will keep interest rates steady at its next meeting, scheduled for December 13.
The end of strikes by auto workers and Hollywood actors boosted wages by 47,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even so, the underlying pace of wage inflows has been slowing. Stripping out the one-time boost, the 152,000 gain was roughly in line withnoted Paul Ashworth, North American chief economist at Capital Economics.
These gains, including 49,000 public sector jobs and another 77,000 in health care. If these non-cyclical sectors were taken out of the equation, the economy added just 26,000 jobs, adding evidence that “after a very strong third quarter, growth is slowing to a claim in the fourth quarter,” Ashworth wrote in a note to clients .
Average hourly wages rose 0.4% last month to $34.10, up 4% over the past 12 months, the Labor Department said reported. The measure is considered key as .
Stock futures trimmed their declines in the wake of the report, with the three major indexes all slightly lower.