A W A K E N

Gov’t reports a gain of 155,000 new jobs in November, well below forecast

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In a weaker than expected report, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that the economy’s private sector generated 161,000 seasonally adjusted new jobs in November, while the public sector shed 6,000 jobs, for a net gain of 155,000. The median forecast for new jobs by analysts surveyed by Dow Jones earlier this week was far more at 198,000. 

The headline unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent for the third consecutive month, the lowest level in 49 years. Another BLS gauge, which measures both unemployment and underemployment—and which many economists say gives a better overall picture of the labor situation—rose 0.2 point to 7.6 percent. 

November marked the 98th consecutive month of job expansion.

Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises the new job count for the previous two months as more complete data become available. Friday’s report revised the October count from 250,000 to 237,000, and September’s count from 118,000 to 119,000.

In the 22 months Donald Trump has been in office, the average monthly count of new jobs has been 190,000. In President Obama’s final 22 months in office, the monthly average was 217,000.

Average wages rose slightly in November. The BLS reported that over the past 12 months, wages have climbed by 81 cents, a gain of 2.8 percent against an inflation rate that was an annualized 2.5 percent in October, the last month for which data are available.

The BLS counts as employed anyone who has worked any number of hours during the survey period. During recessions, many more people work part time, taking whatever jobs they can find, or because their full-time hours have been cut back. Here’s Doug Short’s look at full-time and part-time since the year 2000, with the latest available data from October 2018:

Full-Time vs. Part-Time jobs as of October 2018

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