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Job Growth Remains Strong With 228,000 New Jobs In November

Employers added 228,000 new jobs in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report issued December 8 (Exhibit 1).  That marks the second straight month of over 200,000 new jobs and the 86th consecutive month of employment gains. Employees working within an open works space

The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the second straight month – the lowest level since December 2000 (Exhibit 2).

The number of jobs added in October was revised down from 261,000 to 244,000 while the September number was revised up from an 18,000 gain to a 38,000 gain.

Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Exhibit 1Wage growth remained slow in November, with only a $0.05 increase from the previous month (Exhibit 3). Wages had actually declined $0.01 in October.  Year over year, wages have increased $0.64, from $25.91 to $26.55 – a gain of just 2.5%.

Initial jobless claims have remained at an extremely low level, with 236,000 claims filed the week ending December 2, according to the Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report (Exhibit 4). The four week moving average was 241,500, Exhibit 2an increase from the previous month’s level of 232,500.  That was the lowest level for this average since April 7, 1973.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 25 was 1,908,000, a slight increase from a month earlier of 1,884,000 – which was the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973.  In all, 1.91 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, which is the lowest level since the mid-1970s.  This is even more impressive considering the difference in the size of the labor force. Exhibit 3

Jobless claims have remained under 300,000 for 143 consecutive weeks – the longest stretch since 1970.

Here are some of the other key trends highlighted in the report: 

  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 1.6 million and accounted for 23.8% of the Exhibit 4unemployed – which represents a 1.0% decline from the October rate (Exhibit 5).
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, was also unchanged at 4.8 million (Exhibit 6).
  • The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up from 34.4 hours to 34.5 (Exhibit 7).
  • The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7%. The employment-population ratio declined by 0.1% to 60.1%.
  • The labor force participation rate for those in their prime working years (age 25-54) increased by 0.2% to 81.8%, Exhibit 5which is about 1.2% below the pre-recession level (Exhibit 8). That continues to be a weakness in the employment recovery.

Economic trends that we have been following suggest that the employment market will continue to be strong in the months ahead. But slow wage growth continues to be an issue.  That may change as the job market tightens and employers are compelled to compete for qualified workers. Exhibit 6

Exhibit 8Exhibit 7


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