Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in November, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). September’s job growth was downwardly revised by 35,000 to 262,000, while the October figure of 150,000 jobs added remained unchanged.
"We got a Goldilocks jobs report for November. The economy continued to add jobs, and wage growth persisted, but both figures were well off the highs. Bond traders were largely unphased by the new data as it reiterated the thesis that the economy is holding steady," says Zonda chief economist Ali Wolf. "The 10-year Treasury yield rose just slightly following the release, which is good news for the housing market since there wasn’t a surprise pop in mortgage rates."
Job growth was most widespread in health care and government (+49,000) and manufacturing (+28,000). Residential construction employment, including specialty trade contractors, was essentially flat, growing by just 1,000 in November.
“This month’s [job growth] pace was inflated somewhat by workers returning from a strike. In terms of industries, the private education and health services sector showed the highest job growth, with 99,000 jobs added in November, followed by the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 40,000 jobs,” says Mark Palim, deputy chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The retail trade sector lost 38,400 jobs and temporary help services employment fell by 13,600.”
The unemployment rate in November edged down to 3.7%, and the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 6.3 million.
The November long-term unemployed count edged down to 1.2 million; these individuals accounted for 18.3% of all unemployed persons, according to the BLS. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage points to 60.5% in November, while the labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.8%. The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents, or 0.4%. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4%.
“The labor force participation rate ticked up one-tenth to 62.8% as additional workers rejoined the labor market. The number of employees working part time but who would prefer full-time jobs fell by nearly 300,000 last month, another indication of strong labor demand,” Palim says.
The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.3 million, little different from the prior month, according to the BLS. Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was also little changed at 1.6 million in November.
“Overall, this report provides further evidence that the labor market remains healthy. The recent rapid decline in rates—in particular, the mortgage rate is down nearly 80 basis points since the end of October—along with continued job growth are beneficial for home buyers; however, if labor markets remain this strong, we believe the pace of mortgage rate declines will likely not continue in the near term or may partially reverse,” Palim says.