US payrolls add 266,000 jobs; unemployment rate falls to 3.5%
Friday, December 06, 2019
In November, total U.S. nonfarm payrolls added 266,000 new hires, as the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate has been under 4% for 21 straight months.
Unemployment among major worker groups changed scantly last month, as did the number of people out of paid work at 5.8 million. Additionally, GM workers returned from being on strike.
“Over the last three months, payroll employment growth has averaged 205,000 new jobs, more than enough to keep up with population growth and pull in thousands of workers off the sidelines each month,” according to Elise Gould, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., in a statement.
Wage growth, however, is not as robust as job increases, according to Gould. “Nominal wages rose 3.1% year-over-year in November,” she said, “which is slower than expected in an economy that has had historically low unemployment.”
As the unemployment rate falls, employers compete for new hires, which in theory tends to boost hourly wages, according to standard economic theory. That principle of supply and demand remains but is tepid.
The workweek stayed static last month. “The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in November,” according to the BLS.
Medium-sized business of 50-499 employees created 29,000 jobs in November, down from 64,000 in October, according to the Automatic Data Processing National Employment Report, produced from ADP payroll data in conjunction with Moody’s Analytics.
Large firms of 500 or more employees hired 27,000 new workers in November versus 44,000 in October. New hires rose at small firms of 20-49 employees with 25,000 new jobs in November compared with 30,000 in October. Very small businesses with 1-19 workers lost 15,000 jobs in November versus losing 12,000 in October.
According to ADP/Moody’s report, the service-providing sector added 85,000 new jobs in November versus 138,000 in October. Meanwhile, the goods-producing sector lost 18,000 jobs in November compared with losing 13,000 in October. Manufacturing, natural resources and mining firms each lost 6,000 jobs in November versus October job losses of 4,000, respectively.
“In November, the labor market showed signs of slowing,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, in a statement. “The goods producers still struggled; whereas, the service providers remained in positive territory driven by healthcare and professional services.”
“Job creation slowed across all company sizes; however, the pattern remained largely the same, as small companies continued to face more pressure than their larger competitors.”
The Federal Open Market Committee’s Oct. 30 move to cut short-interest rates to boost the continuation of the economic expansion was a positive move, according to Gould. “When they meet next week,” she said, “they should continue looking to the data for guidance and keep interest rates low until we reach genuine full employment.”
The central bank has cut interest rates three times in 2019.
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