US economy added 155,000 jobs in November, unemployment remains at 3.7 percent

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The latest Labor Department data in their latest report (pdf) released Dec.7, portrays an economy that is still adding jobs at a steady rate after almost a decade of recovery. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 per cent from the prior month, compared with forecasts for 0.3 per cent, though wages matched projections on an annual basis, up 3.1 per cent for a second month.

While the report contained some good news for workers, worries that the current pace of economic growth may not be sustainable has rattled markets in recent weeks.

Shepherdson also said Friday's report showed little sign that weaker job growth was due to Trump's trade war as employment rose in the trade-sensitive manufacturing sector.

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained unchanged for the third straight month, holding steady at 3.7 percent - a 49-year low.

By contrast, the stock markets, which President Trump had pointed to as symbolic of business confidence, have turned sour this week, almost wiping out the year's gains with a massive drop.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 jobs last month, with construction companies hiring the fewest workers in eight months, likely because of unseasonably chilly temperatures.

The ongoing job gains are pushing down unemployment rates to historically low levels for a variety of groups. Despite being lower than recent months and lower than expectations, job gains remain strong in 2018.

This month's employment situation report is a continuation of the strong jobs growth that has been a staple of the economy under this Administration. October wage gains were revised down to 0.1 percent from the previously reported 0.2 percent. Americans increased their spending in October by the most in seven months, and their incomes grew by the most in nine months, according to a government report last week.

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Job gains averaged 170,000 per month over the past three months. October's jobs count was revised lower from an initially reported 250,000 to 237,000.

The housing market, though, has stumbled this year as the Fed's rate hikes have contributed to sharply higher mortgage rates.

The markets have been rattled by U.S. -China trade war could still intensify, despite an agreement over the weekend between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping that included postponing a planned USA tariff hike for 90 days.

Minutes of the Fed's November policy meeting published last week showed almost all officials agreed another rate increase was "likely to be warranted fairly soon", but also opened debate on when to pause further hikes. Hiring also slowed in restaurants, bars and hotels.

The unemployment rate in November remained 3.7 percent for the third straight month, almost a five-decade low.

Despite the tariffs and concerns over trade, manufacturers added 27,000 jobs last month, spread fairly evenly across the sector.

Overall 2.3 million jobs have been added this year - 12.7 percent above last year's pace of 2.01 million over the same period, according to David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide.