The U.S. economy created 203,000 jobs in November, the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday -- exceeding the 180,000 jobs forecast by the Bloomberg consensus estimate, as the world's largest economy showed strength in most sectors.
The 203,000-job total is also consistent with a moderately-growing U.S. economy. However, it's uncertain whether the roughly 180,000-job-gain trend over the past few months will be strong enough to convince the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin to reduce its stimulus program -- formally known as quantitative easing.
Further, job increases for two prior months were revised slightly upward -- historically another sign of underlying economic momentum. October’s jobs gain was revised slightly down to 200,000 from 204,000; September's was revised upward to 175,000 from 163,000 -- good for a net 8,000-job gain above the Labor Department’s initial estimate.
Equally significant, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent -- its lowest level since November 2008. Meanwhile, the workforce participation rate rose to 63.0 percent from 62.8 percent -- a sign that some adults who stopped looking for work have re-started their job search.
Also, a broader gauge of unemployment (labeled: U6) -- one that includes part-time workers looking for full-time work, and discouraged workers -- fell to 13.2 percent from 13.8 percent
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Meanwhile, the average workweek rose 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours, and average hourly earnings increased 4 cents to $24.15.
Details to follow.