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Dec. 6, 2019, 10:13 a.m. EST

U.S. sees hiring surge in November as economy adds 266,000 new jobs

Unemployment rate falls again to match 50-year low of 3.5%

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By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

The numbers: The economy produced a robust 266,000 new jobs in November and the unemployment rate returned to a 50-year low, reflecting the resilience of the U.S. labor market.

The increase in employment — the biggest since January — was partly inflated by the return of nearly 50,000 striking auto workers at General Motors /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -4.05% . Yet it was still a surprisingly strong report. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a more modest 180,000 gain.

Hiring was strong almost across the board, with health care, hospitality and professional occupations leading the way.

Read: ‘That’s a lot of jobs!’ economists exclaim

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% from 3.6% to match the lowest level since the end of 1969.

The stock market /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -3.15% soared in early Friday trades after the jobs report.

What happened: Health-care providers hired 45,000 people, hotels and restaurants boosted staff by 45,000 and white-collar professional firms added 38,000 workers.

Employment in manufacturing jumped by 54,000, but almost all of the gains stemmed from General Motors /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -4.05%  employees returning to work after a month-long strike. Manufacturers have added virtually no jobs this year, hurt by a slowing global economy and by the U.S. trade war with China.

Read: U.S. manufacturing sector slumps further in November

Also lagging behind were retailers, construction firms and energy producers. Retailers added just 2,000 new jobs a month before the holiday shopping season. Builders filled just 1,000 positions. And oil-and-gas companies shed 7,000 jobs, reflecting lower energy prices.

The amount of money the average worker earns, meanwhile, rose 7 cents to $28.29 an hour. The increase in pay in the past 12 months slowed to 3.1% from 3.2%, however, indicating that many of the newly created jobs are likely lower-paying ones.

Wage gains climbed steadily from 2014 until early this year before leveling out at just over 3% a year.

Adding to the positive tone of the November jobs report, the government revised up employment gains for October and September by a combined 41,000.

Over the past three months, the economy had added an average of 205,000 new jobs. That’s down from a 223,000 average in 2018, but still quite vigorous more than a decade into an economic recovery.

Read: Fed ‘super-glued’ to its seat until after the election, economists say after stellar jobs report

/zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.75
-1.34 -4.05%
Volume: 14.62M
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
6.94
Dividend Yield
4.79%
Market Cap
$45.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
$849,994
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,081.36
-879.44 -3.15%
Volume: 513.27M
Feb. 25, 2020 4:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.75
-1.34 -4.05%
Volume: 14.62M
Feb. 25, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
6.94
Dividend Yield
4.79%
Market Cap
$45.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
$849,994
loading...
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