WASHINGTON – The United States’ headline unemployment rate came in at 4.1 percent in November, unchanged from the previous month, while the economy created a higher-than-expected 228,000 new jobs, the government said Friday.
In its latest report, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also downwardly revised its new-jobs figure for October from 261,000 in its initial reading to 241,000.
The 228,000 new positions created in November beat forecasts by economists, who had expected that 200,000 more people would be added to payrolls.
Average hourly earnings for private-sector non-farm workers inched up by $0.05, or 0.2 percent, to $26.55 in November and have climbed $0.64, or 2.5 percent, over the past 12 months, the report said.
The labor force participation rate, defined as the share of the population 16 years and older either working or seeking work, held steady at 62.7 percent in November from the previous month and “has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months,” it added.
Besides the headline unemployment rate (U-3), the Bureau of Labor Statistics also releases other unemployment figures, among them the so-called U-6 rate, which also includes underemployed and discouraged workers.
The U-6 came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 8 percent in November, up from 7.9 percent in October but down from 9.3 percent in November 2016.
The report shows the labor market has stabilized after a period of volatility following the devastation triggered by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which caused economic disruptions in Texas and Florida in late August and September.
Due to the tight labor market and annual growth rates at or above 3 percent in the past two quarters, the US Federal Reserve is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate at its final 2017 policy meeting, scheduled for next week.
The federal-funds rate currently stands at a target range of between 1 percent and 1.25 percent.