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U.S. Jobs Increase, Residential Investment Likely to Spur Growth

The U.S. economy added 228,000 new non-farm jobs in November 2017 and saw the national unemployment rate remain at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. But all those new jobs did little to foster wage growth.

"This was a solid report, albeit one that failed once again to show ever-elusive wage growth," said Curt Long, Chief Economist at the National Association of Credit Unions.

Average hourly earnings in November rose by 5 cents to $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 64 cents, or 2.5 percent. Still, Long said, the spike in jobs and steady unemployment numbers “will not give the Fed any pause as officials prepare to raise rates later this month."

November’s growth numbers steamrolled over the monthly average of 174,000 new jobs this year. Employment growth continued to stay strongest in professional and business services, manufacturing, and healthcare. Through November, professional and business services has added 548,000 jobs, with 46,000 added last month. Manufacturing added 31,000 jobs in November; healthcare 30,000.

Construction showed its strongest numbers in specialty trade contractors, which saw 23,000 added in November.

Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, said the strength in manufacturing payrolls is consistent with the resurgence in business investment and core capital goods orders.

“Even the retail sector, which lost jobs in eight of the first 11 months this year, saw the biggest employment increase since January, soothing concerns about the health of bricks-and-mortar store sales going into the holiday season,” Duncan said. "In addition, residential construction payrolls have posted healthy back-to-back monthly gains, hinting that residential investment will likely add to growth this quarter for the first time in three quarters. Overall, today’s report supports our view that domestic demand has regained momentum late in the year, setting up the economy for a more upbeat 2018 than we previously anticipated.

While unemployment numbers remained steady at about 6.6 million Americans, the number of unemployed persons were down by half a percent in November. That’s about 799,000 people. The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) was statistically unchanged at 1.6 million last month. Long-term unemployed accounted for 24 percent of those out of work. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 275,000.

The BLS’s generally positive report gave Duncan a reason to feel optimistic about the coming year.

“Overall, today’s report supports our view that domestic demand has regained momentum late in the year, setting up the economy for a more upbeat 2018 than we previously anticipated."

About Author: Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.
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