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The great American jobs machine chugs along

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 228,000 new jobs in November, while the unemployment rate stayed firm at 4.1%, the Labor Department said Friday.

  • Manufacturing job growth led the way in November, adding 33,000 new jobs, and bringing the total new manufacturing jobs in 2017 to 189,000.
  • Even the battered retail sector added more than 18,000 new jobs, bringing employment in that sector to levels not seen since March.

Why it matters: As lawmakers rush to pass tax reform aimed at goosing the economy, the jobs market is running as hot or hotter than any time in the past decade.

One puzzling thing: Wage growth still remains muted, even with rock bottom unemployment. As economist Justin Wolfers frames it:

The key puzzle remains: With unemployment this low, why aren't we seeing faster nominal wage growth? Suggests that the economy still has room to run without igniting inflation.— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) December 8, 2017

Implications for the Fed: Incoming Fed Chair Jerome Powell will have to navigate this vexing question as the central bank attempts to steer interest rates higher without puncturing the economic recovery.

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