The latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 178,000 jobs were added to the economy, resulting in an unemployment rate decrease of 0.3 percent. The overall unemployment rate for the country stands at 4.6 percent. This time last year, the unemployment rate was 5 percent.
Professional and business services added the most jobs in November, with health care jobs also seeing some gains.
The jobs report by industry
With most of the seasonal retail hiring already complete by early November, the growth of other industries shows signs of a stabilizing economy. Here's how the numbers break down by industry:
Professional and business services: This segment of the economy gained 63,000 jobs in November, according to the BLS. Specifically, accounting and bookkeeping jobs rose by 18,000 while support and administration services added 36,000 jobs. Computer systems and technical consulting services also saw notable gains.
Health care: Most of the growth in the health care industry was focused on ambulatory health care services. This subsector includes positions at physician and dentist offices, outpatient care centers and home health care services. "Health care has been an area of consistent growth in the Cleveland market," says Ken Cole, Senior Recruiting Manager of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Cleveland. "There has been a steady flow of positions available on both a contract and permanent basis, with no signs of slowing down."
Construction: The construction industry, which has been trending upwards in recent months, saw more job gains for residential specialty trade contractors. Those jobs include contractors and subcontractors who specialize in painting, plumbing, electrical work and other specific duties. "We are actively working on numerous positions with our clients in the construction industry," says Chris Rimorin, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Financial Division in Rockville, Maryland. "When you're talking about the construction industry on an upswing, it isn't just the prototypical 'construction' jobs, either – accounting and finance has a strong presence here."
The jobs report - same old, same old?
The strong jobs growth and falling unemployment are undeniably positive signs for the economy going into 2017. However, there are still areas of improvement. Despite falling unemployment, labor force participation and wage growth have remained fairly stagnant, according to The Atlantic. This means that, while the economy is growing, it is not necessarily strengthening, as those who have stopped looking for work have not joined back into the fray.
Interestingly, the BLS reported that the number of job openings across the country has remained relatively unchanged at 5.5 million.
Speaking with The New York Times, CUNA Mutual Group's chief economist, Steve Rick, said, "The challenge out there now is finding workers and keeping the workers you have."
Those openings could mean increased wages in the near future, especially with some states planning to raise their minimum wages over the coming months and years.
Interests rates could rise
Interest rates have remained unchanged throughout 2016. The Atlantic attributed this stabilization with a lack of inflation. However, that could change when the Federal Reserve meets again for its December meeting. At last month's meeting of the Reserve, members noted that, if the job numbers remain steady, it could be appropriate to raise the target range for federal fund rates. A raise in the federal interest rate would likely make it more expensive to borrow money from banks.
November was the 74th consecutive month that jobs were added to the economy and that trend shows no immediate signs of slowing down.
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