The labor market stays robust, with employers adding 199,000 jobs last month

Workers apply sheathing to the exterior of a new multifamily residential building, Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston. U.S. employers created 199,000 jobs last month, higher than in October, in part as UAW workers returned to work after a strike against the Big Three automakers. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The country’s labor market continues to hum along.

U.S. employers added 199,000 jobs in November, higher than the 150,000 jobs created in the previous month.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate edged down to 3.7% last month from 3.9% in October.

The gains last month reflected in part the return of about 30,000 auto workers after the UAW strike against the Big Three automakers. The strike ended last month after the three companies — General Motors, Stellantis and Ford — agreed to record contracts with the union.

The end of a Hollywood strike by actors also resulted in another 17,000 people going back to work.

Overall, the data continues to showcase a surprisingly sturdy labor market despite the aggressive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, which is scheduled to hold its policy meeting next week.

In another positive sign for the country’s labor market, more than half-a-million people joined or rejoined the workforce last month.

And average wages in November were up 4% from a year ago. Wage growth has slowed, but is generally outpacing inflation in recent months, giving a lift to workers’ real buying power.

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