The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in November, defying aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy and reduce decades-high inflation.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, according to the Labor Department, which released the latest monthly jobs picture on Friday morning.
Economists polled by Refinitiv had expected the pace of hiring to slow to a gain of just 200,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate to remain flat at 3.7%.
Some of the biggest monthly job gains are in the leisure and hospitality sector, as well as healthcare. The hot jobs report also showed an unexpected jump in average hourly earnings, another blow to the Fed’s efforts to tame inflation by cooling demand. Central bank officials have expressed concern about rising wages keeping inflation high.
In November, average hourly earnings increased by 0.6% from the previous month and by 5.1% on an annual basis. Economists had expected those rates of increases to slow from October, when they increased by a revised 0.5% monthly and 4.9% annually.
Friday’s report also contained significant revisions: September was revised down by 46,000 to 269,000 jobs, and October was revised up by 23,000 jobs to 284,000.
Given these updates, November’s monthly gain — which remained well above pre-pandemic monthly averages — is now the lowest total number of jobs added since April 2021.
This story is evolving and will be updated.