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U.S. Employment Climbs Much Less Than Expected In November

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After reporting strong job growth in the previous month, the Labor Department released a report Friday morning showing employment in the U.S. increased by much less than expected in the month of November.

The report said non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs in November after surging up by a downwardly revised 237,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to climb by about 200,000 jobs compared to the jump of 250,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

"However, markets shouldn't be too disappointed as the fact that there aren't enough workers was almost certainly a major factor," said ING Chief International Economist James Knightley.

He added, "Indeed, the National Federation of Independent Businesses continues to report that the proportion of firms that can't fill the vacancies remains at an all-time high."

The Labor Department said the job growth in November reflected notable increases in employment in the health care, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing sectors.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate in November remained unchanged for the second straight month at 3.7 percent, holding at its lowest level since hitting 3.5 percent in December of 1969.

The unemployment rate held steady as a 233,000 person gain in the household survey measure of employment more than offset a 133,000 person increase in the size of the labor force.

Average hourly employee earnings rose by $0.06 to $27.35 in November, reflecting a 3.1 percent increase compared to the same month a year ago. The annual rate of growth was unchanged from October.

"In terms of the outlook, decent economic momentum means there is little reason to expect a significant drop-off in demand for workers anytime soon," Knightley said. "The key question is whether companies can actually find workers."

"Given the scarcity of available labor, this suggests further upside for wages," he added. "This will add to inflationary pressures in the US economy and ensure a December interest rate hike from the Fed."

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