US economy added 155,000 jobs in November

The November jobs report was weaker than expected but still a sign of a strong labor market. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 8:06 PM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 8:06 PM

Americans got another positive jobs report on Friday -- but it was full of warning signs that the economy is beginning to stutter.

The US economy added 155,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's fewer than expected, but the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7%.

October's jobs numbers were also revised down slightly, to put the monthly average over the past year at about 204,000 jobs, and the average over the last quarter at 170,000.

The report is a sign of a slowing but still strong labor market — and further support for the idea that the Federal Reserve may hold off hiking interest rates over the next year as quickly or as much as initially planned.

That's reassuring to investors who had been worried that the Fed would move too fast to cool off an already decelerating economy.

"My reaction is a sigh of relief," said Leo Grohowski, chief Investment Officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. "I think a mild miss is more than acceptable in order to help the Fed understand that multiple rate increases may not be warranted for 2019."

Markets have been in turmoil in recent weeks amid continued uncertainty about Trump's ability to end his trade war with China, as well as over his ability to sell Congress on his replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The President last weekend threatened to terminate the 1994 deal, which would create a six-month window for Congress to ratify the new deal, known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or risk having no deal at all.

Most economists have been projecting a slowdown in 2019 as the effects of tax cuts and government spending wear off, turning into a recession sometime in 2020. The current expansion is only seven months away from being the longest period of positive job growth since the 1850s.

The missing ingredient, however, has been wage growth — and that looks like it's beginning to change. Paychecks grew by 3.1% over the last year, a relatively robust number that is in line with expectations as employers have had to fight to attract workers in recent months.

The percentage of people participating in the labor force remained the same and the median number of weeks people remained unemployed dropped from 9.4 to 8.9 weeks in November, suggesting that people are getting jobs more quickly after losing them.

However, the number of people "marginally attached" to the labor force — those who had looked for a job in the past year but stopped in the past month because they couldn't find one — has risen by nearly 200,000 over the past year. The percentage of people working part time who would rather work full time also rose slightly.

Despite high demand for workers in some sectors, that may show that people who want jobs increasingly aren't in the places where employers need them — and that the economy still has room to expand before running out of workers entirely. Also, the number of people holding part-time jobs in addition to their full-time jobs has been rising, and is now above its pre-recession high.

The retail sector, which is readying for a very busy holiday season, saw surprisingly anemic employment growth. New jobs in general merchandise stores were offset by losses in clothing, electronics, and sporting goods stores.

The strongest job growth came in health care, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing, which added another 27,000 jobs for 288,000 total growth over the past year. Tariffs and fears of a larger trade war may not be having a huge positive impact, but they're definitely not choking the sector either.

"I think the narrative has turned quite negative on the economy, part of that driven by trade and tariffs," Grohowski said. "And we're not hearing that from the CEOs and CFOs we're talking to."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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