AP

US gains a robust 266,000 jobs; unemployment falls to 3.5%

Dec 6, 2019, 7:10 AM
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2019, file photo people wait in line to inquire about job openings with Mars...
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2019, file photo people wait in line to inquire about job openings with Marshalls during a job fair at Dolphin Mall in Miami. On Friday, Dec. 6, the U.S. government issues the November jobs report. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring in the United States jumped last month to its highest level since January as U.S. employers shrugged off global trade conflicts and added 266,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate declined to 3.5% from 3.6% in October, matching a half-century low, the Labor Department reported Friday. And wages rose a solid 3.1% in November compared with a year earlier.

The healthy job gain runs against a widespread view that businesses are struggling to find workers with unemployment so low. Persistent hiring should help keep consumers spending — a key engine of growth as businesses have cut their investment spending and exports have stalled.

Monthly job growth has in fact accelerated since this summer, averaging 205,000 over the past three months, up from just 135,000 in July.

Steady hiring has helped reassure consumers that the economy is expanding and that their jobs and incomes remain secure, which, in turn, has helped fuel spending. Consumer spending has become an even more important driver of growth because the Trump administration’s trade conflicts have reduced exports and led many businesses to cut spending.

Renewed concerns that trade will continue to hamper the U.S. economy drove stock prices lower earlier this week, after President Donald Trump said he was willing to wait until after the 2020 elections to strike a preliminary trade agreement with China. With the two sides still haggling, the administration is set to impose 15% tariffs on an additional $160 billion of Chinese imports beginning Dec. 15.

Both sides have since suggested that the negotiations are making progress, but there is still no sign of a resolution.

Hiring in the United States has remained mostly healthy this year despite the trade war. Even so, Trump’s combative use of import taxes, combined with retaliatory tariffs by China and Europe, has stalled job growth in manufacturing.

Employers have been hiring at a solid enough pace to absorb new job seekers and to potentially lower the unemployment rate, though the pace of job growth is down from last year.

The holiday shopping season has begun later this year compared with previous years, a fact that some economists think might have delayed hiring by retailers and shipping firms last month.

With tariffs hobbling manufacturing, the job market this year has underscored a bifurcation in the economy: Service industries — finance, engineering, health care and the like — have been hiring at a solid pace, while manufacturers, miners and builders have been posting weak numbers.

Despite the raging trade tensions, most analysts say they remain hopeful about the economy and the job market. The economy grew at a 2.1% annual rate in the July-September quarter, and the annual pace is thought to be slowing to roughly 1.5% to 2% in the final three months of the year — sluggish but far from recessionary.

Consumer confidence has slipped in recent months but remains at a decent level, helping boost sales of expensive purchases, such as autos and appliances.

With inflation surprisingly low, the Federal Reserve has cut its benchmark short-term interest rate three times this year. Those rate cuts have helped support the housing market. Sales of existing homes have risen nearly 5% in the past year. Sales of new homes have soared by one-third.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Dave and Dujanovic discuss the causes of immigration and are joined by U of U political science professor. Listen live at 10:05 EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — It cost Nerio two months and everything he had to get from Venezuela to the U.S., traveling mainly by foot and watching as exhausted fellow migrants were assaulted […]
1 day ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
4 days ago
U.S. Capitol pictured. The House just voted on an election law...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

House passes election law overhaul in response to Jan. 6

The bill, which is similar to bipartisan legislation moving through the Senate, would overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act
5 days ago
Trump pictured. A lawsuit against Trump was just filed in new york...
Associated Press

NY attorney general sues Donald Trump and his company

Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit is the culmination of the Democrat's three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization.
6 days ago
el helicoide caracas...
RODRIQUE NGOWI, GISELA SALOMON and CLAUDIA TORRENS Associated Press

Surprise is key part of migrant travel from Florida, Texas

EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) — The chief executive of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services was wrapping up work when she looked outside to see 48 strangers at her office with luggage, backpacks and red folders that included brochures for her organization. The Venezuelan migrants who were flown to the wealthy Massachusetts island from San Antonio on Wednesday […]
8 days ago
school classrooms...
Collin Binkley Associated Press

Reading, math scores fell sharply during pandemic, data show

WASHINGTON (AP) — Math and reading scores for America’s 9-year-olds fell dramatically during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a new federal study — offering an early glimpse of the sheer magnitude of the learning setbacks dealt to the nation’s children. Reading scores saw their largest decrease in 30 years, while math […]
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
US gains a robust 266,000 jobs; unemployment falls to 3.5%