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.