Jobs soar in November

The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufacturing employment rose by 54,000 in November, following a decline of 43,000 in the prior month. Employment in transportation and warehousing continued on an upward trend in November with the addition of 16,000 jobs.

Employment in retail was nearly flat but jobs at general merchandise stores grew by 22,000.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

Residential construction employment was little changed (-500) in November, after an increase of 5,400 jobs in October (revised). Total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment totaled about 7.5 million in November.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in November, broken down as 847,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 3,250 a month.

Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 47,400 jobs on a net basis, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 937,300 positions.

Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $28.29. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%. In November, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees also rose by 7 cents to $23.83.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in November. In manufacturing, the average workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.5 hours, while overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees held at 33.5 hours.