The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added a robust 211,000 jobs last month, beating analyst expectations and increasing the odds of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.
Despite the gains, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. The professional and technical services sector added 28,000 jobs in November, including 11,000 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping services, which added 11,000 jobs.
Employment in construction rose by 46,000 in November, with much of the increase occurring in residential specialty trade contractors, where 26,000 jobs were added. Health care employment increased by 24,000 in November, following a big gain in October of 51,000 jobs.
Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents to $25.25, following a 9-cent gain in October. Over the course of the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent.
The Labor Department also revised upward the employment numbers for September from 137,000 to 145,000, and for October from 271,000 to 298,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 35,000 more than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 218,000 per month.
The Obama administration greeted the positive job news. “The strong pace of job growth continued in November as the unemployment rate held at its lowest level since April 2008 and labor force participation ticked up,” wrote Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a blog post on the White House website. “We have added more jobs over the past three years than in any three-year period since 2000, and wages are continuing to rise.”
Furman noted that private-sector employment alone rose by 197,000 jobs in November, and private employment growth in September and October was revised up by a combined 52,000 jobs, bringing October’s growth to 304,000, the best month of the year so far. “The unemployment rate held at 5.0 percent in November, even as labor force participation edged up to 62.5 percent,” he added. “Wages continued to rise; nominal average hourly earnings for all private employees have now risen 2.3 percent over the past year. Overall, our economy has created 8.1 million jobs over the past 36 months, the fastest pace since 2000.”
House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, pointed out that more work still needs to be done, however, including simplifying the tax code. "Today’s job report shows 211,000 jobs were added in November and the unemployment rate remained steady at 5 percent,” he said in a statement. “While it’s welcome news more Americans have found work, we can do much more to kick this economy into high gear. I'm worried about the continued lag in business investment which drives Main Street jobs. They are holding back because of the uncertainty that Washington has created. There’s still too much potential sitting on the sidelines. That’s why, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I am focused on a pro-growth agenda to create jobs and increase wages so that we reward hard work. Whether it’s simplifying our tax code, expanding American exports, or reforming our welfare system, our committee is working each day to improve our nation’s economy and help more Americans achieve success."
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