Economy adds 211K jobs in November

Economy adds 211K jobs in November
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The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, capping off the strongest three-year run in 15 years. 

The unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, the lowest since early 2008, while estimates from October and September were revised up by 35,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Jason FurmanJason FurmanThe Republican Party is revitalizing the American economy under Trump Treasury: Trump's economic policies would pay for tax cuts GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said that the economy has created 8.1 million jobs over the past three years, the fastest pace since 2000.

Congress cleared a five-year $305 billion transportation spending bill on Thursday, ticking off a top agenda item for the Obama administration, which has argued that infrastructure investment would boost economic growth. 

Employment in construction rose by 46,000 in November for an annual growth total of 259,000.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse passes tariff-relief bill GOP may increase IRS’s budget Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-Texas) said that while the report that Americans are finding jobs is welcome news, “we can do much more to kick this economy into high gear.”

“I’m worried about the continued lag in business investment which drives Main Street jobs," he said. “They are holding back because of the uncertainty that Washington has created.”

The labor market is maintaining a strong pace of growth — job gains have averaged 218,000 a month over the past three months — likely setting in motion an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve mid-month from near zero for the first time since December 2008.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen indicated over the past couple of days that there would be little economic news to derail a slight increase — probably by 0.25 percentage points — with the labor market showing steady growth.

Yellen said Thursday that normalizing rates "will be a testament to how far our economy has come in recovering from the effects of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.”

"In that sense, it is a day that I expect we all are looking forward to," she told the Joint Economic Committee (JEC).

Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump urges House to reauthorize NSA surveillance after ripping it in a tweet Overnight Cybersecurity: Computer chip flaws present new security challenge | DOJ to offer House key documents in Russia probe | Vulnerability found in Google Apps Script Counterterrorism director: Current atmosphere makes job 'more difficult' MORE (R-Ind.), chairman of the JEC, said that while the jobs numbers “increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month, changing interest rates is not a long-term prescription for achieving a more dynamic economy.”

Wage gains in November were modest, rising by four cents after a nine-cent gain in October.  

Average hourly wages have risen 2.3 percent from December 2014, a somewhat faster pace than the average over this recovery, the White House said. 

Daniel Alpert, managing partner at Westwood Capital, said on Twitter that the “October blip in wages reversed itself in November,” adding that supervisors benefited most from the wage growth last month.

Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that hourly earnings growth “still remains muted.”

“It's encouraging to see just how far the labor market can repair without sparking inflation,” Wolfers said on Twitter. 

“The great news is that we can get people back to work without the Fed cutting off the recovery. I love that.”

Meanwhile, manufacturing, which has been stymied by a strong dollar that makes U.S. exports more expensive abroad, shed 1,000 jobs last month.

A separate report released earlier this week had showed that manufacturing contracted in November for the first time in three years. 

Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, said that manufacturers have added no net workers since January, as the sector remains “mired by global headwinds and lower commodity prices.” 

Healthcare employment produced a jobs gain of 24,000 last month, bringing total growth to 470,000 over the year.

Low oil prices have dinged the energy sector and showed up in the loss of 11,000 jobs in mining. Employment has declined 123,000 this year. 

—Last updated at 11:52 a.m.