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U.S. Jobs Report Breaks Expectations, Unemployment at 50-Year Low

Specialist Geoffrey Friedman reacts to the Dow Jones industrials average passing 17,000 on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 3. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report released on Friday showed accelerated hiring and unemployment at a 50-year low.

Employers added 266,000 jobs for the month of November, surging past expected gains and continuing growth from October, which saw 156,000 new hires.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the same as in September of this year and matching the lowest rate since 1969, according to the Labor Department’s report.

“It’s a significant surprise because economists were ready to go with the idea that payroll growth was slowing down because the job market had gotten tight,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist for broker-dealer Amherst Pierpont, told Bloomberg. “The whole tenor has changed in terms of job growth. We’re back at steady-as-she-goes at a robust pace.”

November was the first full month after the United Auto Workers union called a 40-day strike at General Motors factories. The end of the strike saw over 41,000 workers added to auto manufacturing jobs.

Bloomberg Economics is lowering its projection of the 2020 year-end unemployment rate to 3.3% from 3.4%. Hiring momentum continues to surpass the growth rate of the labor force,” wrote Bloomberg economists Carl Riccadonna and Yelena Shulyatyeva. “On Nov. 3, 2020, as voters head to the polls, they will be facing the lowest election day unemployment rate since Dwight Eisenhower won his first term as president in 1952.”

The U.S. gross domestic product grew by 2.1% in the third quarter, down from 2.9% for all of 2018. The slower growth rate comes amid uncertainty over global trade policies, as the U.S. and China find themselves locked in a battle over tariffs.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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