By: Mark Simenstad, Chief Investment Strategist, Thrivent Asset Management December 11, 2017
Employers added 228,000 new jobs in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report issued December 8. That marks the second straight month of over 200,000 new jobs and the 86th consecutive month of employment gains.
The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the second straight month – the lowest level since December 2000.
The number of jobs added in October was revised down from 261,000 to 244,000 while the September number was revised up from an 18,000 gain to a 38,000 gain.
Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.
Wage growth remained slow in November, with only a $0.05 increase from the previous month. Wages had actually declined $0.01 in October. Year over year, wages have increased $0.64, from $25.91 to $26.55 – a gain of just 2.5%.
Initial jobless claims have remained at an extremely low level, with 236,000 claims filed the week ending December 2, according to the Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report. The 4-week moving average was 241,500, an increase from the previous month’s level of 232,500. That was the lowest level for this average since April 7, 1973.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 25 was 1,908,000, a slight increase from a month earlier of 1,884,000 – which was the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973. In all, 1.91 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, which is the lowest level since the mid-1970s. This is even more impressive considering the difference in the size of the labor force.
Jobless claims have remained under 300,000 for 143 consecutive weeks – the longest stretch since 1970.
Here are some of the other key trends highlighted in the report:
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 1.6 million and accounted for 23.8% of the unemployed – which represents a 1.0% decline from the October rate.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, was also unchanged at 4.8 million.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up from 34.4 hours to 34.5.
The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7%. The employment-population ratio declined by 0.1% to 60.1%.
The labor force participation rate for those in their prime working years (age 25-54) increased by 0.2% to 81.8%, which is about 1.2% below the pre-recession level.1 That continues to be a weakness in the employment recovery.
Economic trends that we have been following suggest that the employment market will continue to be strong in the months ahead. But slow wage growth continues to be an issue. That may change as the job market tightens and employers are compelled to compete for qualified workers.
Media contact: Samantha Mehrotra, 612-844 4197; email@example.com
All information and representations herein are as of December 8, 2017, unless otherwise noted.
The views expressed are as of the date given, may change as market or other conditions change, and may differ from views expressed by other Thrivent Asset Management associates. Actual investment decisions made by Thrivent Asset Management will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or product. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor's specific financial needs, objectives, goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.
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