Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 21° Clear
News >  Business

U.S. economy adds 178,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent

In this Nov. 25file photo, Eric Denker and his wife, Jalen Denker, of Irvine, Calif., take advantage of sales to buy suits for business school interviews at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. (Jeff Gritchen / Associated Press)
In this Nov. 25file photo, Eric Denker and his wife, Jalen Denker, of Irvine, Calif., take advantage of sales to buy suits for business school interviews at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. (Jeff Gritchen / Associated Press)
By Ana Swanson Washington Post

The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent the previous month, according to new government data released Friday morning.

The first employment report after a contentious presidential election in which the candidates expressed diverging views of the health and direction of the economy showed a job market that is continuing to steadily strengthen from the recession.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected U.S. employers to create 180,000 new jobs last month — roughly in line with the average number added in the first 11 months of the year.

The unemployment rate fell to levels not seen since August 2007, before a bubble in the U.S. housing market began to burst. The fall was driven partly by the creation of new jobs and partly by people retiring and otherwise leaving the labor force. The labor force participation rate ticked down to 62.7 percent last month.

Average hourly earnings declined by 3 cents to $25.89. The decrease pared back large gains seen in October, but over the year, average hourly earnings are still up 2.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The data release comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 13-14 meeting, where the central bank is expected to announce its first interest rate increase in a year. Although wages fell slightly in November, many economists view the steady wage gains of the earlier months as a sign that a tightening labor market is allowing workers to demand higher pay, increasing pressure on the Fed to head off inflation by hiking interest rates.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to spend heavily to rebuild America’s infrastructure, plans which may also increase inflationary pressure in coming months.

The November jobs report was also one of the final snapshots of the economy under President Barack Obama’s administration. While some economists note that America’s labor force participation rate remains low and broader measures of unemployment are still elevated, the data captured an economy that has undeniably bounced back from Obama’s first months in office, when the private sector was shedding roughly 800,000 jobs a month and the unemployment rate was at 10 percent.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.