The U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in November, less than the 195,000 expected, while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%, a half-century low, the Labor Department said on Friday. Wages grew 3.1% year-over-year — the same pace as in October.
Between the lines: The job market remains strong, but the pace of job growth slowed in November as compared to the average monthly gain of 209,000 jobs in the past year. However, as Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan points out, "this pace of expansion is more likely sustainable."
- Health care, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing saw strong job gains.
- October's job gains were revised lower to 237,000 from 250,000, while September's employment gains were revised higher by 1,000 jobs.
- The labor force participation rate — the percentage of workers 16 and older who are working or looking for work — was unchanged in November.
- November marks the 98th consecutive month of job gains.
Bottom line: The jobs report is good news for investors who fear the economy may be overheating, which would make the case for more rate hikes stronger. In early trading, stocks pared their losses after the release of the jobs report.