State of the Labor Market

November Jobs Report: One Month of Solid but Not Spectacular Job Growth Should Not Cause Panic


Adding 155,000 jobs this month is not a disappointment.

Remember, job growth month to month can be volatile. We also still added more than twice the jobs that the economy needs to add each month to keep up with the growing population. In addition, during this record streak of job growth there have been 22 months when the economy added fewer jobs than it did this month. One month of solid but not spectacular job growth should not cause panic.

What is disappointing this month is the jump in the share of workers who are working part-time involuntarily. That number jumped to 3.0% from 2.8% last month. It is still elevated above its pre-recession level.

Even with solid jobs growth and wage growth above 3%, there remains a portion of the workforce stuck in involuntary part-time work. It is surprising in a labor market this strong that these workers are struggling to find the full-time work they want.

This report seems unlikely to change Federal Reserve thinking heading into December as there are no signs of a further pick-up in wage growth. This report should also remind policymakers that the economy likely still has room to grow.

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