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The labor market stays robust, with employers adding 199,000 jobs last month

A person works at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Mich. on Sept. 20, 2022. U.S. employers created 199,000 jobns last month, higher than in October, in part as UAW workers returned to work after a strike against the Big Three automakers.
Jeff Kowalsky
/
AFP via Getty Images
A person works at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Mich. on Sept. 20, 2022. U.S. employers created 199,000 jobns last month, higher than in October, in part as UAW workers returned to work after a strike against the Big Three automakers.

The country's labor market continues to hum along.

U.S. employers added 199,000 jobs in November, higher than the 150,000 jobs created in the previous month.

The hiring is cooler than earlier in the year, but employers are still adding more than enough jobs to keep the unemployment rate very low. The jobless rate edged down to 3.7% last month from 3.9% in October.

The gains last month reflected in part the return of about 30,000 auto workers after the UAW strike against the Big Three automakers. The strike ended last month after the three companies — General Motors, Stellantis and Ford — agreed to record contracts with the union.

The end of a Hollywood strike by actors also resulted in another 17,000 people going back to work.

Overall, the data continues to showcase a surprisingly sturdy labor market despite the aggressive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, which is scheduled to hold its policy meeting next week.

In another positive sign for the country's labor market, more than half-a-million people joined or rejoined the workforce last month.

And average wages in November were up 4% from a year ago. Wage growth has slowed, but is generally outpacing inflation in recent months, giving a lift to workers' real buying power.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Scott Horsley
Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.