U.S. Economy Added 263,000 Jobs in November 2022
Over the past several months, the United States economy has repeatedly offered mixed signals. Although gross domestic product results would suggest we’re headed for a recession, the Federal Reserve has been forced to hike interest rates in a bid to slow inflation. Now, the latest figures also show that the economy continues to create jobs at a decent clip.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in the month of November. As CNN Business reports, that outpaces the 200,000 that economists surveyed had predicted. Despite the gain, the unemployment rate stayed flat at 3.7%. Looking closer at the report, the sectors that saw the largest gains in jobs during the month were leisure and hospitality, health care, and government. Meanwhile, retail trade and transportation and warehousing all saw job declines.
Elsewhere in the report, it was discovered that the average hourly wage increased by 0.6% in November. This brought the average hourly wage during the month to $32.82 and marks a 5.1% year over year increase. Unfortunately, that figure still falls well behind the 7.7% inflation rate recorded between October 2021 and October 2022.
As for what experts are taking away from these latest figures, Bankrate senior economist Mark Hamrick said in a statement, “The November employment report delivers a holiday season package of good news for American workers, including a strong increase in wages. In keeping with the classic divide sometimes seen between Main Street and Wall Street, the report tells the Federal Reserve it has more work to do in its battle against inflation.”
Meanwhile, Moody’s Analytics managing director Sophia Koropeckyj explained, “First, the tight labor market has definitely limited holiday hiring, but employers are also hiring more cautiously given the uncertainty about the strength of consumer spending. In addition, employers may be more cautious in order to support margins amid rising labor and material costs. Some interest-rate sensitive industries have also been pulling back.” Koropeckyj added, “It should be noted that pulling back does not necessarily mean laying off workers. It can mean more cautious hiring. This explains in part the low number layoffs and low unemployment rate.”
While the increase in jobs is a good thing overall, the results certainly only add to the confusion that’s plagued the economy since the pandemic began. It will also be interesting to see how the Fed — which had previously indicated the likelihood of smaller rate hikes following a series of 0.75% increases — responds to November’s figures. Moreover, we’ll have to wait for more data in the subsequent months before any clear indications are finally reached.