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November Jobs Report: Solid Growth


The U.S. government reports another month of solid job growth. It happened in November, when employers added 211,000 jobs, according to the government. That sets the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this month. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Job creation was widespread across the economy in November, with only a couple of industry sectors lagging. Mining, which includes the oil and gas industry, continued to lose jobs because of the oil glut, and manufacturing was down slightly. It's being hurt by a strong dollar and weak global growth. Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia says the strong job growth, despite these factors, signals the basic health of the U.S. economy.

JOHN SILVIA: We can worry about Europe and China and Brazil and everything else, but it does seem like the domestic U.S. economy is doing pretty well, thank you very much.

YDSTIE: Silvia says continued job growth across most sectors also signals that the economy has largely returned to normal seven years after the start of the Great Recession. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen expressed similar sentiments in appearances this week. She also said raising interest rates for the first time in seven years will be a live option at the Fed's mid-December meeting. John Silvia says this good employment report solidifies the case that the Fed will act, but he says the rise in interest rates to more normal levels will be gradual.

SILVIA: If you look at the three-month moving average, you're talking about, you know, 210,000, 220,000 jobs. That's the kind of number that allows the Fed to move ahead but doesn't have to hurry.

YDSTIE: Some economists have worried that the Fed has waited too long to raise rates and that inflation, which is currently well below the Fed's target, will quickly emerge as the labor market gets tighter and employers start raising wages to attract workers. But there was no sign of that in today's report. Wages rose just two tenths of a percent, well below the wage gains in a normal economy. Also the unemployment rate remained at 5 percent despite the November job gains. That's partly because hundreds of thousands of workers have joined or returned to the labor force in the past couple of months. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.
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