The November report from the Labor Department saw 266,000 new jobs added vs. just 180,000 expected. The labor market felt the influx of workers returning from the recently ended strike at General Motors, boosting figures. Unemployment dropped from 3.6% to 3.5%, beating expectations of a flat reading.
- November added 266,000 vs. 180,000 expected according to the latest report.
- Unemployment dropped to 3.5% from 3.6%.
- Average hourly earnings say a 3.1% annual gain, rising 0.2% in November.
As expected, payrolls rose in auto parts manufacturing due to returning strike workers. The sector saw an increase of 45,000 jobs, part of a total of 54,000 in the manufacturing sector. Health care added 45,000 jobs compared to 12,000 the month before. Leisure and hospitality also rose by 45,000 and professional and business services rose by 31,000, with annual gains of 219,000 and 278,000 respectively. The average work week saw no change at 34.4 hours, and average hourly earnings rose 3.1%.
Despite heightened shopping activity entering the holiday season, retail companies added just 2,000 jobs net total. Gains of 22,000 in general merchandise and 8,000 in motor vehicle and parts dealers were offset by a major loss of 18,000 in clothing and clothing accessories. The mining industry also lost 7,000 positions
September gains were revised upward by 13,000 to 193,000, and October gains were revised upward by 28,000 to 180,000. On average, 170,000 new jobs have been created each month in 2019, below last year’s average of 230,000. Robert Rosener, economist at Morgan Stanley, stated “we still see pretty
Solid jobs report for November and... astonishing discrepancy with what ADP showed earlier (again). Anyway, non-cyclical sectors have contributed notably to recent job gains (over 30% only in November). #NFP pic.twitter.com/t7cMjMUxuy
— InsiderFX (@Insider_FX) December 6, 2019
The recent labor report offsets growing concerns of a softening labor market. Following downbeat labor market news on Wednesday, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi commented that the “labor market is losing its shine.” However, this may not be the case in light of recent figures. The labor market is a cornerstone of the US economy, helping to fuel robust consumer spending which accounts for two thirds of US economic activity. In the face of worsening global and domestic economic conditions, the health of the labor market plays a key role in the ongoing economic expansion underway in the US.
Arguably the greatest threat to the expansion is the ongoing trade war, which has recently escalated. This week, President Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina, indicating that there is no impending resolution to the conflict which has now lasted 17 months. The trade war has led to significantly reduced business spending and a slowdown in hiring, with companies and investors cautious in the uncertain economic climate. Manufacturing has taken a major hit due to the tariffs on related materials.
Gold prices have ticked downward following the upbeat labor report. Spot gold last traded at $1,461.77/oz, down -1.02% with a high of $1,477.97 and a low of $1,459.04/oz. The jobs report is likely behind the majority of the selling pressure. Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC, said “This was a strong report almost all the way through the numbers which will support the US dollar today and see bond yields rise.”