Prior to this morning’s release of the monthly Employment Situation Summary, economists polled by Reuters were predicting gains of 200,000 jobs in November. Instead, the Labor Department’s tally showed 228,000 jobs added to public and private, non-farm payrolls. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent.
“It’s a really, really strong economy,” Tom Gimbel, chief executive of LaSalle Network, a staffing firm in Chicago, told The New York Times. “Companies really want to take advantage of the economy, so they want to hire and get while the getting’s good.”
Where Jobs Are Growing
The following industries added jobs last month:
- Professional and business services (+46,000)
- Manufacturing (+31,000)
- Healthcare (+30,000)
Within the construction industry, jobs for specialty trade contractors increased by 23,000 last month. Other industries changed little in November, including mining, retail trade, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality and government.
Are Wages Picking Up?
Wages have grown for nine consecutive quarters, according to The PayScale Index, which measures the change in pay for employed U.S. workers. But the real value of workers’ wages is 6.9 percent less than in 2006, once inflation is taken into account. And wage growth overall has been softer than we might expect, given low unemployment.
But that may be changing. Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees rose 5 cents to $26.55 last month. In the past year, earnings have risen by 64 cents.
“With the unemployment rate this low and with just not enough people coming back into the work force to fill positions, firms are having to resort to offering higher wages,” Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist of RSM, told the Times.
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