USA unemployment lowest in nine years

NEW YORK - MARCH 31:  People wait in line to get into the Brooklyn Diversity Career Fair at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 31, 2009 in New York, New York. The career fair, which drew hundreds of job seekers, featured employment vendors from a variety of fields including security, banking, sales, military and food service. As the global economic downturn continues, the U.S. rate of unemployment rose from 7.6 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


Washington / AFP

The USA unemployment rate in November fell to its lowest level since August 2007 as the economy continued to add new jobs, all but guaranteeing an interest rate hike this month.
The jobless rate fell an unusually large three-tenths to a surprising 4.6 percent, the Labor Department reported.
A solid 178,000 net new positions were created, in line with analysts’ expectations. The economy has added jobs at an average rate of 180,000 a month so far this year, a healthy pace but below the 229,000 rate in 2015.
The big drop in the unemployment rate was a shock as it
had moved little over the prior year. The number of people in
the workforce — the labor force participation rate — was also little changed at 62.7 percent. Private firms added 156,000 in the latest month, with continued gains in construction, healthcare and leisure.
However manufacturing firms lost jobs again in November, for a drop of 15,000 over the past three months, and retail fell slighty, unusual at a time when stores are adding seasonal workers for to deal with holiday shopping.
The share of long-term unemployed, or those seeking work for 27 weeks or more, was stable at 1.9 million, or 24.8 percent of the all unemployed people. Temporary work also increased again, and has added over 55,000 jobs in the past three months, but could be a sign companies are having trouble filling positions.
“With qualified workers in short supply, temporary help firms are once again doing a decent business,” Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors wrote in a client note. The latest picture of the US economy’s health comes President-elect Donald Trump touts his efforts to prevent job losses in the manufacturing sector by striking deals to reduce the off-shoring of jobs and warning companies considering relocating abroad of “consequences.”
Trump will assume office with unemployment at pre-recession levels that may be difficult to sustain. Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro poured cold water on the new figures, especially highlighting the decline in manufacturing employment.
“The 4,000 manufacturing jobs that disappeared last month come on top of the over 300,000 that have been lost under President Obama,” Navarro said. While manufacturing employment is lower than when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis, Labor Department data show the sector has added 800,000 positions since the low point in February 2010.

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