The U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics announced a total of 321,000 jobs were added to the economy during the month of November, marking the largest increase in a single month since 1999. The series of recent job reports have resulted in the longest duration of months the economy has added over 200,000 jobs since 1995.
The unemployment rate remained steady from October, remaining 5.8 percent, the lowest unemployment rate in six and a half years. The report showed average hourly wages increased by roughly 0.4 percent from October to November, the largest change to this economic indicator in more than a year.
Sec. of Labor Tom Perez heralded the numbers stating, “One month does not make a trend, but I am encouraged. One of the best ways to lift wages is to pick up the pace of job creation, which is exactly what we’re doing. Because job creation will trigger more upward pressure on wages.”
In an interview with ABC News’ Tom Schieffer, Obama touted positive jobs numbers saying, “The American economy is making real progress,” adding that “We had a jobs report for October that showed that once again over 200,000 jobs created. We’ve now created more than 10 million. The unemployment rate’s come down faster than we could have anticipated. Just to give you some perspective, Bob, we’ve created more jobs in the United States than every other advanced economy combined since I came into office.”
Not all the news from the November jobs report was positive. Over the last year average hourly earnings are up 2.1 percent, just slightly above the rate of inflation. In November, the teen unemployment rate was 17.7 percent, down from 26.7 percent in 2009, but still a number not seen since the 1980s. The rate of labor force participation remains at 62.8. Regarding the new report, House Speaker John Boehner commented, “Millions still remain out of work, and middle-class families across the country, including my home state of Ohio, are struggling to get by on wages that haven’t kept pace with rising cost.”
Like most recent jobs reports, members of both political parties have agreed there has been real, tangible job growth. President Obama and his Democratic allies point to where the numbers are compared to when Obama took office, while Republicans claim the numbers don’t go far enough. One thing is certain, the positive economic indicators are a step in the right direction shortly before the holiday season.