Employers Continue To Add Jobs At Steady Pace

December 7, 2015 – The labor market grew at a healthy pace in November as employers added 211,000 jobs and the U.S. unemployment rate remained at five percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Currently there are 7.9 million people unemployed in the U.S.

These numbers topped analyst expectations and may have turned the final key for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates later this month. Wall Street had been expecting 200,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate to be unchanged. The labor market has added an average of 237,000 net new positions for the 12 months that ended Nov. 30.

“The message from November’s jobs is clear: The U.S. labor market is unambiguously strengthening,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research.

“We have added more jobs over the past three years than in any three-year period since 2000, and wages are continuing to rise,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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The past report for October saw 271,000 jobs added and the U.S. unemployment rate at that time also stood at five percent.

In November, job growth occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and healthcare. Employment in mining and information declined over the month.

Employment in construction rose by 46,000 in November, with much of the increase occurring in residential specialty trade contractors (+26,000). Over the past year, construction employment has grown by 259,000.

In November, professional and technical services added 28,000 jobs. Job gains occurred in accounting and bookkeeping services (+11,000), and employment in computer systems design and related services continued to trend up (+5,000). Over the year, professional and technical services has added 298,000 jobs.

Healthcare employment increased by 24,000 over the month, following a large gain in October (+51,000). In November, hospitals added 13,000 jobs. Healthcare employment has grown by 470,000 over the year.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in November (+32,000) and has risen by 374,000 over the year.

Retail trade employment continued to trend up during the month (+31,000) and has increased by 284,000 over the year. In November, job gains occurred in general merchandise stores (+12,000) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+9,000). Over the past 12 months, these industries have added 85,000 jobs and 71,000 jobs, respectively.

Employment in mining continued to decline in November (-11,000), with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Since a recent peak in December 2014, employment in mining has declined by 123,000.

The information sector lost 12,000 jobs over the month. Within the industry, employment in motion pictures and sound recording decreased by 13,000 in November but has shown little net change over the year.

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

“Payroll gains were modest despite continued weakness in manufacturing and the energy sectors, suggesting little spillover into the rest of the economy,” said Samuel Coffin, an economist at UBS.

Other employment reports are also positive. Manpower’s latest ‘Employment Outlook Survey’ reported that U.S. employers are predicting their strongest hiring since 2007. A Bloomberg BNA survey on hiring projections and job security trends found that employment trends are pointing to an expanding workforce.

A stronger economy also could impact how workers view their current opportunities in the workplace. One third of U.S. and U.K. workforces plan to change jobs in the next six months, according to the ‘Employee Development Survey’ released by talent management solution provider Saba and WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals.

HR executives are expecting lots of activity in coming months as confidence in the U.S. labor market continues to climb. Sixty-nine percent of HR professional are reporting a confidence level not reported for six years, according to the ‘Jobs Outlook Survey’ from the Society for Human Resource Management. The forecast represents the highest level of optimism among HR professionals since the survey was launched in 2009.

More than half (51 percent) of HR executives reported they were somewhat optimistic about job growth in the U.S., and another 18 percent were very optimistic and anticipated job growth during the next few months as the year winds down. In the second half of 2015, 42 percent of respondents said they expected hiring to occur at their organizations.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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