Unemployment rate holds ground at 3.7%

Nonfarm payrolls increase by 155,000

The unemployment rate held its ground at 3.7% in November, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, the number of unemployed persons slightly changed from 6.1 million in October to 6 million in November.

The jobless rates for all other groups, including men at 3.3%, women at 3.4%, teenagers at 12%, whites at 3.4%, blacks at 5.9%, Asians at 2.7% and Hispanics at 4.5% — these all showed little or no change over the month.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in November, compared with an average monthly gain of 209,000 over the past 12 months. Chief Economist Danielle Hale said this week’s stock market volatility and last week’s Fed comments about making data-driven decisions, have the markets watching today’s job report more closely than usual.

“Today’s good, but not great reading, is the ideal outcome for those hoping for steadier stock and bond markets ahead,” Hale continued. “Job gains of 155,000 in November compared with an average monthly gain over 200,000 in the last 12 months, shows the economy is growing, but at a slower pace consistent with the unemployment rate at 49-year lows.”

It is worth noting, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment in October was revised to 237,000 jobs, down from 250,000. Furthermore, the change for September was revised up from 118,000 to 119,000.

With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 12,000 less than previously reported.

However, the number of long-term unemployed persons retreated by 120,000 to 1.3 million in November, which accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $27.35. Over the year, average hourly earnings have climbed by 3.1%.

The majority of job gains in November can be attributed to an increase in jobs in manufacturing, healthcare, warehousing and transportation.

Here are some of the areas which showed notable changes in November:

  • Employment in manufacturing increased 27,000
  • Employment in healthcare increased 32,000
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing increased 25,000

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in November.

Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said November’s wage growth offers some optimism for next year’s housing market.

“As seen in November’s jobs report, the labor market remains quite strong, with the unemployment rate still near 50-year lows, and wage growth above three percent on an annual basis, Fratantoni said. “With home-price growth also slowing and mortgage rates easing a bit, sustained wage growth of better than 3% certainly helps affordability conditions as we head into 2019.”

“Overall, the economy is growing, but the rate of growth is slowing, and we expect that trend to continue over the next two years. This backdrop still provides solid support for consumer spending broadly, and steady demand for housing,” Fratantoni concluded.

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