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Robust hiring highlights economy’s momentum

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

U.S. employers added a substantial 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in the economy’s ninth year of expansion, and the unemployment rate held at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

Friday’s jobs report from the government made clear that the U.S. economy is on firm footing and is likely benefiting from more resilient global growth, with all major economies across the world expanding in tandem for the first time in a decade.

Over the past six months, U.S. economic growth has exceeded an annual rate of 3 percent, the first time that’s happened since 2014. Consumer confidence has reached its highest level since 2000. And employers have added jobs for 86 straight months, a record streak.

“It’s a surprisingly strong report given the age of the recovery,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at the job listing website Indeed. “After 86 months, we’re still seeing strong payroll gains.”

In many cases, in fact, employers say they’re struggling to find enough qualified workers to hire. Still, solid hiring and a low unemployment rate have yet to accelerate wages, which rose 2.5 percent in November compared with a year earlier. The last time unemployment was this low, average wages were growing at a 4 percent annual rate.

The November jobs data make it a near-certainty that the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year when it meets next week, economists said.