November Employment Report Shows Underlying Strength

Tom Cunningham, PhD
December 6, 2019
Read Time: min

The morning’s Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a fairly (and surprisingly) strong labor market.  There were 266,000 new jobs added in the month of November, compared to the 188,000 new jobs expected. The headline unemployment rate (U3) and the broader measure of labor underutilization (U6) both ticked down by 0.1 percentage points to 3.5% and 6.9%, respectively.

Hiring was particularly strong in health care and in professional services. Manufacturing also saw strong gains, with employment rising by 54,000; however, nearly 43,000 reflect the return of  workers who were part of the auto strike in October.  Still, it’s a strong number. The only sector seeing appreciable loss was mining, which was down by 7,000.  The two previous months were revised up by a combined 41,000.

Hourly earnings are up 3.1%, a slight acceleration from last month.

This month's report is surprisingly strong. Recent data releases haven’t been as positive, and this report shows some underlying strength.

About the Author

Tom Cunningham, PhD

Tom joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as an economist with the macropolicy group in 1985. He was promoted to senior economist in 1989 and to research officer and senior economist with responsibility for the regional group in 1992. Cunningham retired in 2015 after a 30 year career. He has recently joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s leadership team as chief economist. Cunningham’s deep experience covers all aspects of applied economics and real estate trends, and he is a specialist in macroeconomic policy and regional analysis. Throughout his career, he has interacted with multiple business leaders and companies in the Southeast, and has deep knowledge and expertise in areas such as real estate mortgage, mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, transportation and government.

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