November jobs report: another good report with some signs of deceleration

November jobs report: another good report with some signs of deceleration


  • +155,000 jobs added
  • U3 unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7%
  • U6 underemployment rate rose 0.2% from 7.4% to 7.6%

Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment:

Wages and participation rates

  • Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now:  rose +88,000 from 5.309 million to 5.397 million
  • Part time for economic reasons: rose +181,000 from 4.621 million to 4.802 million
  • Employment/population ratio ages 25-54: unchanged at 79.7%
  • Average Hourly Earnings for Production and Nonsupervisory Personnel: rose $.07 from  $22.89 to $22.95, up +3.1% YoY.  (Note: you may be reading different information about wages elsewhere. They are citing average wages for all private workers. I use wages for nonsupervisory personnel, to come closer to the situation for ordinary workers.)
Holding Trump accountable on manufacturing and mining jobs

 Trump specifically campaigned on bringing back manufacturing and mining jobs.  Is he keeping this promise?  

  • Manufacturing jobs rose +27,000 for an average of +20.000/month in the past year vs. the last seven years of Obama’s presidency in which an average of +10,300 manufacturing jobs were added each month.
  • Coal mining jobs rose +400 for an average of +75/month vs. the last seven years of Obama’s presidency in which an average of -300 jobs were lost each month

September was revised downward by -13,000. October was revised upward by +1,000, for a net change of -12,000.

The more leading numbers in the report tell us about where the economy is likely to be a few months from now. These were mixed.

  • the average manufacturing workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI.
  • construction jobs rose by +6300. YoY construction jobs are up +71,400.
  • temporary jobs rose by +8300. This is positive, but marks continued deceleration from its 12 month average of +15,000.
  • the number of people unemployed for 5 weeks or less rose by +69,000 from 2,057,000 to 2,126,000.  The post-recession low was set six months ago at 2,034,000.

Other important coincident indicators help  us paint a more complete picture of the present:

  • Overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours.
  • Professional and business employment (generally higher-paying jobs) increased by +32,000 and  is up +563,000 YoY.
  • the index of aggregate hours worked for non-managerial workers rose by +0.1%.
  •  the index of aggregate payrolls for non-managerial workers rose by +0.7%.
Other news included:
  • the  alternate jobs number contained  in the more volatile household survey increased by +233,000  jobs.  This represents an increase of 2,759,000 jobs YoY vs. 2,443,000 in the establishment survey.
  • Government jobs decreased by -6,000.
  • the overall employment to population ratio for all ages 16 and up was unchanged at  60.6% m/m and is +0.5% YoY.
  • The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.9% m/m and is up +0.2% YoY.


This was another good report. The worst that can be said is that it is a deceleration from last month’s excellent report, which I described as overall the best of this entire expansion. Perhaps the most positive aspect of this report was the nice pop in aggregate payrolls, up 0.7%, and that nominal wages for average workers coninued to increase more than 3% YoY.

There was a little fraying around the edges, as involuntary part time employment, the U-6 underemployment rate, and the number of those who aren’t even looking but would like a job now all increased. Temporary employment, a particularly good leading indicator for overall employment, shows continued signs of deceleration (growth, but at a slower pace).

Bottom line: clear sailing in the present and in the near future, with some grayish clouds perhaps on the horizon.