Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

U.S. job creation slows to 155,000 in November; unemployment 3.7%

U.S. job creation slows to 155,000 in November; unemployment 3.7%

USA job growth moderated in November, with non-farm payrolls coming in at about 155,000 for the month - down from the 190,000 that analysts had predicted - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The strongest job growth came in health care, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing, which added another 27,000 jobs for 288,000 total growth over the past year. The African-American unemployment rate, often touted by President Donald Trump, fell to a record low of 5.9%.

"For now, this month's jobs report is a continuation of "The Little Engine That Could" as the recovery has now yielded positive jobs growth for 8 years and 2 months in a row - a new record", Wolfers said. Both the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were left largely unchanged at 62.9 percent and 60.6 percent, respectively. That's less than the roughly 200,000 jobs a month that the economy has been creating for the past year.

However, the number of people "marginally attached" to the labor force - those who had looked for a job in the past year but stopped in the past month because they couldn't find one - has risen by almost 200,000 over the past year.

The average hourly pay for private sector workers increased at an annual rate of 3.1%. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent, the biggest growth since 2009. Hiring has averaged 170,000 per month for the past three months.

As investors on Wall Street continue to unload on the market, including a massive sell off of FAANG stocks that have shed hundreds of billions of dollars this week, tensions with worldwide trade remain a top concern for the USA economy as growth begins to slow following over a year of above three percent domestic growth.

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada for USA ‘for violating Iran sanctions’
At least 13 pages of a proposal to sell Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran were marked "Huawei confidential". Meng, who is also a vice chair on Huawei's board, was arrested on December 1 in Vancouver.

Investors, however, are mostly focused on where the economy is headed.

Construction firms cut back, however, adding just 5,000 jobs, the fewest in five months. The normal week's worth of work tumbled to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours in October. The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter. The November jobs data "gives ... ammunition" to Fed officials advocating caution, Omair Sharif, senior US economist at Societe Generale in New York, told The New York Times.

"This is the sort of jobs report that manages to both calm folks at the Fed a bit - no, we're not right on the cusp of overheating - while also continuing the narrative of robust ongoing jobs growth that will, if it continues, keep bringing unemployment down", said Justin Wolfers, a economist at the University of MI.

Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are watching the jobs numbers closely as they prepare for an expected interest rate hike on December 19.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last month appeared to signal the central bank's three-year tightening cycle was drawing to a close, saying its policy rate was now "just below" estimates of a level that neither cools nor boosts a healthy economy.

Retailers responded by adding 18,200 positions in November, the highest number in six months.

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