The U.S. economy added almost 230,000 jobs during the month of November, the Labor Department said Friday. 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.
According to economists and the Federal Reserve, consumers increased their borrowing by 20 and a half billion dollars.
Several measures showed the labor market remains fairly steady.
Businesses are spending more, too: Orders for such long-lasting items as industrial machinery, computers and oil-drilling equipment rose for the third straight month in October.
Average hourly U.S. earnings rose five cents or 0.2% in November after dipping 0.1% the previous month.
That is down from the 187,000 average gains per month in 2016, but still a healthy rate of growth that, if it continues, likely will pull more people into the labor force and push down the unemployment rate even further below what economists regard as full employment, or the natural rate of unemployment.
November marked the 86th straight month employers added to payrolls.
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Hurricane damage skewed the last two employment reports, with the storms temporarily pushing hundreds of thousands of workers, particularly in the service sector, out of their jobs.
Pretty much everyone assumes job growth is going to be broadly decent so the big story is really about prices and wages. It appears to be this detail that is likely limiting the USA dollar upside. Job creation this year is slightly slower than 2016's pace, though that was anticipated as a tight labor market makes it hard for firms to find available workers. The construction industry also posted a gain of 23,000 jobs, and has averaged monthly gains of 24,000 jobs since the beginning of the year.
"Overall, today's report supports our view that domestic demand has regained momentum late in the year, setting up the economy for a more upbeat 2018 than we previously anticipated", Duncan said.
"We have never seen this kind of intensity around job creation in the 44-year history of the NFIB Jobs Report", NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said. Economists say job gains above 100,000 a month are still enough to keep putting downward pressure on the jobless rate. "If they let unemployment get too low, they may have to raise rates more aggressively, and that risks causing a recession".
Hiring has slowed slightly since a year ago, which is typical when unemployment falls to low levels. Participation has largely moved sideways the past two years, a positive sign that some Americans are being drawn in off the sidelines and helping to counter the trend of baby boomers retiring.
But weak wage growth is also an indication that many Americans are still not looking for jobs, or want to work full-time but can only find part-time jobs. The October reading was the lowest since 2006.