US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in November, and the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and health care. Employment declined in mining and information. The broad jobless rate was at 9.9% reflecting part-time workers seeking full-time jobs and workers who are marginally attached to the workforce.

 

Incorporating revisions for September and October, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 35,000, monthly job gains have averaged 218,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior to November, employment growth averaged 237,000 per month.

The good news on jobs makes the first hike in interest rates by Federal Reserve since 2006 more likely. The central bank will hold its next policy meeting on 15-16, Dec.

“Short of geopolitical events that are larger than anything we’ve seen lately, this is a done deal,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Jason Furman, chairman of the White house Council of Economic Advisers, commented:

Our businesses have now added 13.7m jobs over 69 straight months, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 197,000 jobs in November. 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. 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 8.1m jobs over the past thirty-six months, the fastest pace since 2000.

Construction employment rose by 46,000 in November; more than half of the gain was among residential specialty trade contractors (+26,000). Job growth in construction has picked up in recent months. Over the year, construction has added 259,000 jobs.

Employment in professional and technical services rose by 28,000 in November. Within this industry, accounting and bookkeeping services added 11,000 jobs, and employment continued to trend up in computer systems design and related services (+5,000).

Health care employment increased by 24,000 over the month, following a large gain in October (+51,000). Hospitals added 13,000 jobs in November. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by 470,000.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up over the month (+32,000). Employment in this industry has grown by 374,000 over the year.

Retail trade employment continued on an upward trend in November (+31,000) and has risen by 284,000 over the year. November job gains occurred in general merchandise stores (+12,000) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+9,000). Over the past 12 months, these two industries have added 85,000 jobs and 71,000 jobs, respectively.

Mining employment declined by 11,000 over the month. Since a recent peak in December 2014, mining employment has declined by 123,000, or 14%. Three-fourths of the job losses over this period have been in support activities for mining.

Employment in information was down by 12,000 in November, as motion picture and sound recording industries shed 13,000 jobs. Employment in motion picture and sound recording industries has shown little change on net over the year.

US jobs 2015, Fed rate hike

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents in November to $25.25, following a 9-cent increase in October. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3%. From October 2014 to October 2015, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was up by 0.1 percentage point (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

Turning now to data from the survey of households, the unemployment rate held at 5.0% in November, and the number of unemployed, at 7.9m, was essentially unchanged. These measures are down by 0.8 percentage point and 1.1m, respectively, over the year. Among the unemployed in November, 25.7%, or 2.1m, had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

The labour force participation rate, at 62.5%, changed little in November — and at the lowest since 1978. The employment-population ratio, at 59.3%, was unchanged over the month and has shown little movement since October 2014.

Among those employed, the number working part time for economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, rose by 319,000 in November to 6.1m, following declines in September and October. Over the longer term, the number of involuntary part-time workers has been trending down since 2011. (Involuntary part-time workers are those who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.)

Among people who were neither working nor looking for work in November, 1.7m were classified as marginally attached to the labour force, down from 2.1m a year earlier. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 594,000 in November, little different from a year earlier. (The marginally attached are individuals who had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)

In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%.

Pic on top: Melt runoff from Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. About ten years ago, this spot would have still been part of the glacier — official White House photo by Pete Souza.