U.S. economy adds 199,000 jobs in November

December 8, 2023 8:35 AM EST
(Updated - December 8, 2023 9:05 AM EST) - The U.S. economy added more jobs than anticipated in November, in a sign of lingering robustness in the American labor market that could factor into how the Federal Reserve approaches its future interest rate decisions.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 199,000 jobs last month after rising by 150,000 in October, according to data from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had estimated that payrolls would climb by 180,000 roles.

Average hourly earnings, a key gauge of wage growth, rose at a monthly pace of 0.4% versus October, accelerating from a previous reading of 0.2% and faster than predictions of 0.3%. The unemployment rate in the world's largest economy, meanwhile, unexpectedly ticked down to 3.7%.

Friday's data complicates an emerging narrative that the Fed's unprecedented period of monetary policy tightening may be working to cool labor demand. Earlier this week, separate figures showed that job openings touched an over 2-1/2-year low and fewer workers resigned from their positions in October, while private employers added less roles than anticipated last month.

Loosening the jobs market has been a major focus of the Fed's move to lift borrowing costs to a range of 5.25% to 5.50% -- the highest mark in more than two decades. In theory, a slowdown in demand for workers could alleviate some upward pressure on wages and, by extension, help achieve the Fed's ultimate objective: defusing elevated inflation.

U.S. stock futures slipped following the publication of the much-anticipated payrolls report. The rate-sensitive U.S. 2-year Treasury yield and benchmark U.S. 10-year yield both advanced. Bond prices typically fall as yields rise.

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