The US economy created 155,000 jobs in November, missing expectations for stronger growth, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, its lowest level in 49 years, federal economists said Friday. .
But hiring remained broadly strong as 2018 ends. US employers have created more than 200,000 jobs in four of the last six months, despite economic difficulties such as trade tensions, unstable markets and hurricanes.
Construction slumped sharply in November, said Martha Gimbel, research director for the job lab at Indeed, an employment website. Growth rose from 24,000 in October to 5,000 last month.
Volatility in a sector should not cloud promising global trends, she said.
"155,000 is not the number people dreamed about," Gimbel said, "but it's a perfectly solid number."
Analysts predict that payroll growth in 2018 is still poised to exceed the average monthly earnings of the previous year by 182,000 jobs, and could surpass 195,000 per month.
"Most indicators of the US economy have held up well," said Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate, a personal finance website. "The question is: how much slowing is there on the horizon?"
Some economists fear that the pace of growth of 2018 will not be sustainable next year with such a tight labor market. The unemployment rate reached 3.7% in September and has since been maintained at this level.
Employers complain about the talent shortage that weighs on their growth plans, saying it's increasingly difficult to find people with the right skills.
This is good news for employees. The intensification of competition seems to be driving up wages after years of delay since the Great Recession.
The Labor Department's October employment report indicated that the typical worker's earnings increased by 3.1% last year – the largest increase since 2009. Wage growth remained at this rate in December. November. Part of this increase, however, is absorbed by inflation, which has also risen this year.
Health care, professional services, transportation and warehousing – work related to online shopping – led the recent wave of hiring and manufacturing grew exceptionally well, with an increase of 288,000 jobs in the industry. 'last year.
Jobs in the production of durable goods – washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioners – have fueled the bulk of this recovery, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), suggesting people to have more money to spend on expensive items.
"We are really well placed, if you ask me," CNBC Senior Economist Larry Kudlow said after the release of the employment report. "We are getting huge increases in growth."
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said during a phone conversation with reporters on Friday that smaller than expected gains in November should not cause concern.
"It could be an obstacle on the road," he said.
Some economists point out, however, that not all workers reap the benefits. Union leaders say that wage growth among service workers is lacking. Some reproaches decrease in the number of union members and increase in the number of subcontractors, who have salaries and access to paid holidays and health insurance.
Employees in the service sector "do not have the effect of taking advantage of tight labor markets," said Bill Spriggs, chief economist of the AFL-CIO.
Private sector employment looked broadly healthy in November, ADP reported Thursday, the payroll center, with 179,000 new employer positions. (The October ADP account was revised downward from 227,000 to 225,000).
According to the latest BLS figures, the 237,000 new jobs created in October largely offset the job losses caused by the brutal passage of Hurricane Florence in September in the Carolinas.
Last month, President Trump celebrated the recovery by saying to the press: "It was shocking for a number of people and it's a huge number in every respect."
The trade war with Beijing, however, continues to discourage investors.
Although Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping appear to have concluded a temporary truce during their dinner in Argentina last weekend, Trump agreed to suspend a tariff increase scheduled for January 1. at the request of the United States have eased the optimism generated by the negotiations.
"Trade tensions are starting to deteriorate," said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Financial Services Company. "We have seen a decline in investment. Companies are starting to wonder if they want to hire new employees. "
Meanwhile, Trump's tariffs have not reduced the US trade deficit. This gap reached $ 55.5 billion in October, a record for 10 years, revealed Thursday the new data from the Department of Commerce. The drop in soybean exports to China played a role – sales of the crop dropped by $ 800 million.
Heather Long contributed to this report.