The U.S. economy added a robust 228,000 nonfarm jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
That’s about 33,000 more than economists were expecting, and the unemployment rate held steady at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
A total of 2.2 million jobs have now been created since Donald J. Trump’s election as president.
Manufacturing unemployment fell to a record-low 2.6 percent, while Hispanic unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent, the lowest in the history of the United States. That prompted a tweet Friday from the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% – the LOWEST in the history of the United States. This Administration and @realDonaldTrump are working hard to create opportunities for all Americans…and we are just getting started! 🇺🇸 #MAGA #JobsReport https://t.co/MvPOrIqdXI
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) December 8, 2017
Overall, Friday’s report demonstrated that job creation remained strong in the U.S. even after horrific hurricanes blasted the Southeast in September and temporarily put a drag on hiring. Economists had forecast that nonfarm payrolls increased by 195,000 on net with the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1 percent, according to Bloomberg.
The only negative for workers is wages. They remain stuck in a decade-long rut.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% from October and increased by 2.5% compared with November 2016. Some structural forces, including changes in the labor-force makeup between high-income and low-income earners and lower labor-market turnover, are likely keeping wage growth slow.
But weak wage growth is also an indication that many Americans either are still not looking for jobs or are wanting to work full time but can find only part-time jobs. The labor-force participation rate held at 62.7% from October.
Despite the consecutive strong jobs reports, David Kelly, JP Morgan chief global strategist, said don’t look for any upward pressure on wages anytime soon.
“It [the strong economy] is pushing up asset prices across the board. It’s just not reaching wages and I think workers are so defenseless in this economy, they can’t get a wage increase in this economy,” Kelly told CNBC. “Businesses are determined to keep costs down, so I don’t think there’s any amount of pressure you could put on this economy that’s going to generate really strong wage growth.”
The problem of stagnant wages is global in scope, he said.
“The unemployment rate in Japan is 2.8 percent and there’s no place for a wage gain, same thing in the UK. Its really just a worldwide phenomenon, businesses just will not push up wages,” he said.
The manufacturing sector added 31,000 jobs, while its unemployment rate fell to a record-low 2.6 percent. This shows an extension of its recovery this year after a slump in 2016 that was partly caused by the stronger dollar, which made U.S. products more expensive for other countries.
Retail also had a strong month ahead of the busy holiday-shopping season, adding 18,700 jobs even as thousands of brick-and-mortar stores are being closed.
Restaurants and bars, which bore the brunt of the hurricane impact, added 18,900 jobs last month.