Economy Watch: U.S. Gains 228K Jobs in November

Office-using industries, health care and construction all posted increases as the headline unemployment rate of 4.1 percent remained unchanged.
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Office-using industries led job creation last month. (Image courtesy of CoreNet Global)

Total U.S. payroll employment rose by 228,000 in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. That’s a bit less than in October, when the revised number of net new jobs was 244,000, but more than the monthly average for 2017 so far, which is 174,000 per month (and 2016, when the monthly average was 187,000).

There were gains in November in industries that affect office space use, especially professional and business services. That sector added 46,000 jobs; over the last 12 months, it has added a total of 548,000 jobs. Also, health care added 30,000 jobs in November, compared with 24,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, and an average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016.

In the construction industry, employment among specialty trade contractors increased by 23,000 in November and by 132,000 over the last 12 months. Employment in other major industries, such as mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little in November.

The increase in U.S. worker pay gained some ground in November. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls, at $26.55, rose by 5 cents for the month. In October, pay barely budged.

The BLS also reported that the headline unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent in November, unchanged for the month. The more expansive U-6 measurement of unemployment, which also includes people only marginally attached to the workforce, came in at 8 percent, up from 7.9 percent in October but down from 9.3 percent a year earlier.