Jobs in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast

Employers in the U.S. hired more workers than forecast in November, suggesting job growth will help prop up spending as the economy struggles to avoid its first recession since 2001.

Payrolls rose by 94,000 after a 170,000 increase in October, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The jobless rate unexpectedly remained at 4.7 percent for the third month in a row.

The figures, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and other officials highlighted in the run-up to their Dec. 11 meeting, spurred traders to reduce bets on a half-point interest-rate cut. Stock futures rose and 10-year Treasury yields reached the highest in two weeks.

Estimates for unemployment ranged from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent. The rate has been rising since reaching a five-year low of 4.4 percent in March.

The figures show a less robust job market than depicted by a private report earlier this week. Data compiled by ADP Employer Services showed companies hired 189,000 additional workers in November. The ADP figures include only private employment and don't take into account hiring by government agencies.

Service industries, which include banks, insurance companies, restaurants and retailers, added 127,000 workers last month after increasing payrolls by 192,000 in October.

Retailers added 24,200 jobs, the first increase in four months, after cutting 15,000 jobs in October.

Factory payrolls decreased by 11,000 after falling 15,000 a month earlier. Economists had forecast a drop of 15,000 in manufacturing employment. Builders hired 24,000 fewer workers in November, the fifth month of declining construction payrolls.

Government payrolls increased by 30,000 during the month after gaining 38,000 in October.

Hourly wages rose 8 cents, or 0.5 percent, on average to $17.63 in November and were up 3.8 percent from a year earlier. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent increase for the month and 3.8 percent for the 12-month period.

Average weekly hours worked by production workers held at 33.8 for a fifth month. Average weekly earnings rose to $595.89 last month from $593.19 the prior month.


Jobs in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast, Bloomberg
12/7/2007 6:20:40 AM