The US economy added over 320,000 jobs in November while the unemployment rate remained steady at a six-year low 5.8 percent according to official Labor Department figures. Economists had predicted a rise of just 230,000.
Data for September and October was revised to show 44,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
The increase of 321,000 in November is the largest number in nearly three years. It also marked the 10th straight month that job growth had exceeded 200,000. That is the longest stretch since 1994.
“Over time, I would say over the past couple of quarters we’ve seen continued improvement in the quality of jobs being added. And it’s really extended across the breadth of the job market. So we are talking about white collar jobs. Those in the business and professional sphere. We’ve seen some decent improvement in construction, retail has added some jobs,” explained Mark Hamrick, Washington Bureau Chief, Bankrate.com
The strengthening jobs market conditions are starting to spur faster wage growth which will be a key factor to determine the timing of the US central bank’s first rate hike. Analysts are predicting that could happen in the first half of next year by June.
Data showed the average hourly wage rose by 9 cents in November an increase of 2.1 percent in twelve months. The dollar jumped against the euro to its highest level since August 2012.