The economy is continuing to see promising employment growth with the addition of 228,000 new jobs in the month of November, detailed a federal report Friday.
President Donald Trump has overseen fairly steady employment growth since entering office earlier this year. The labor market overall started to strengthen in the final years of the last administration – following a very sluggish economic recovery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found in its latest jobs report that the trend continued with 228,000 new jobs.
“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent,” the report stated. “Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.”
The labor market was slow to recover in the decade since the last economic downturn – known as the Great Recession because of how severe it was. Former President Barack Obama oversaw the unusually lackluster recovery throughout his presidency, with the economy and labor market finally managing to strengthen in his final years.
“On the whole, I think we have a really optimistic jobs projection for tomorrow,” Georgetown University Prof. Nicole Smith told InsideSources before the release of the report. “The real estate market has been flourishing, it’s somewhat of an employees’ market now, and the unemployment rate is at an all-time low, it was 4.1 percent last month, and we expect it to stay the same and not have much change. And with a flat labor force participation rate, most economists are really expecting robust growth tomorrow.”
The positive signs in recent years have sparked increased confidence within the embattled economy. The unemployment rate has become one of the more positive labor market indicators. It currently stands close to full employment at 4.1 percent. Nevertheless, there has still been lingering issues with slow wage growth being one of the more concerning.
Average wages increased by five cents and now sit at $26.55 for the month of November. A low unemployment rate typically leads to increased wages – with there being a higher demand for available workers. But average wage growth in recent years has been slow despite the very low unemployment rate.
“The low and flat wage growth is still a little bit worrying,” Smith, who also serves as the chief economist for the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said. “With the low unemployment rates, eventually employers will have to find ways of competing for workers, and one incentive program for bringing workers forward is about the wage rate. We’re hoping that wages will have to rise.”
The labor market turnaround in recent years has even managed to pull some people back into the labor market who were previously not considered in the employment rate because of long-term joblessness. The labor force participation rate has improved a bit after falling considerably since the economic downturn – sitting now at 62.7 percent.
The participation rate tracks the number of employed and those actively seeking work as a percentage of the total population. The unemployment rate, in contrast, doesn’t track those who have fallen out of the labor market due to long-term joblessness.
A large population of retirees and student adults can be blamed for much of the lower rate – but not all of it. The employment-to-population ratio for prime-age adults has been improving but still hasn’t reached its pre-recession levels.
Economic indicators elsewhere have also shown very promising improvements. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tracks the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period and is the primary measure for accessing economic growth. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated that GDP growth increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the third quarter of this year – well above where it has typically been in past years with a few notable exceptions.
Trump has made employment and economic growth central themes throughout his presidency. Congressional leaders and the president have looked toward regulatory and tax reform to do just that. They are quickly advancing legislation aimed at cutting rates – though there has been a debate on how much it will help economic growth.
Professional and business services saw the most significant increase in new jobs at 46,000, followed by manufacturing and health care. The jobs report does not include farm workers, private household employees, or nonprofits.