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US Employment Situation

William W. Beach, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics

December 6, 2019 - "Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November, and the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, was little changed. Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services. Manufacturing employment increased as workers in motor vehicles and parts returned from a strike.

"Incorporating revisions for September and October, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 41,000, job growth has averaged 180,000 per month thus far in 2019. The average job gain was 223,000 per month in 2018.

"Employment in health care increased by 45,000 in November, with gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (+34,000) and in hospitals (+10,000). Over the past 12 months, health care has added 414,000 jobs.

"In November, employment rose by 31,000 in professional and technical services. Over the year, the industry has added 278,000 jobs.

"Manufacturing employment was up by 54,000 in November, offsetting a decline of 43,000 in October. Within the industry, employment in motor vehicles and parts increased by 41,000 in November as workers returned from a strike.

"Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in November (+45,000). The industry has added 219,000 jobs over the past 4 months, with about two-thirds of the growth in food services and drinking places (+149,000).

"Employment in transportation and warehousing also continued to trend up in November (+16,000). Over the month, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+8,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000).

"Employment in financial activities continued on an upward trend in November (+13,000). Within the industry, credit intermediation and related activities added 7,000 jobs.

"Mining employment decreased by 7,000 in November. Employment in the industry is down by 19,000 from a recent peak in May 2019.

"Retail trade employment was about unchanged over the month (+2,000). Within the industry, general merchandise stores (which include department stores, warehouse clubs, and supercenters) added 22,000 jobs. Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers increased by 8,000. These gains were partly offset by a loss of 18,000 jobs in clothing and accessories stores.

"Employment in other major industries--including construction, wholesale trade, information, and government-- showed little change over the month.

"Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents in November to $28.29. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 3.1 percent; the over-the-year percent change has been 3.0 percent or above for 16 consecutive months. From October 2018 to October 2019, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.8 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

"Most labor market indicators from the survey of households continued to show little or no change in November. Both the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed people, at 5.8 million, were little changed over the month.

"Among the unemployed, the number of people searching for work for 27 weeks or more was essentially unchanged at 1.2 million in November. These long-term unemployed accounted for 20.8 percent of the unemployed.

"The labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, was little changed in November. The employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent for the third month in a row.

"In November, 4.3 million people were working part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers), little changed from the previous month but down by 459,000 over the year.

"Among those neither working nor looking for work in November, 1.2 million were considered marginally attached to the labor force, down by 432,000 from a year earlier. (People who are marginally attached to the labor force had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.) Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed no jobs were available for them, numbered 325,000 in November, down by 128,000 from a year earlier.

"In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.5 percent."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor


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