The U.S. labor market added 155,000 nonfarm jobs in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report — 40,000 fewer than experts projected. Though fewer jobs were added in November than in October, which was revised to 237,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate remained at its 49-year low of 3.7% for the third straight month.
Employment increased in several industries, including health care (+32,000) and manufacturing (+27,000). Retail trade employment remained fairly level, with job gains in general merchandise stores and miscellaneous store retailers counteracted by losses in clothing stores, electronics retailers and sporting goods, hobby and book stores.
The report revealed that the average workweek for nonfarm employees decreased to 34.4 hours in November — a loss of 0.1 hours from the previous month — while average hourly earnings for such employees increased by six cents to $27.35. Average hourly earnings increased by 81 cents (3.1%) over the course of 2018.
The addition of 155,000 jobs last month signals the onset of a job growth deceleration that employment experts foretold. Employers continue to struggle to create and fill new jobs in a tight labor market with low unemployment, a persisting skills gap, employee demand for continuous learning and pressure to increase wages.
"Job growth is strong, but has likely peaked,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, in a press statement. "This month's report is free of significant weather effects and suggests slowing underlying job creation."
The National Employment Report from ADP and Moody’s adds new dimensions to November’s employment picture. Private-sector employers added 179,000 jobs, according to the report. The bulk of the growth originated with medium-sized employers, which added 119,000 jobs in November.
"Midsized businesses added nearly 70% of all jobs this month. This growth points to the midsized businesses' ability to provide stronger wages and benefits. It also suggests they could be more insulated from the global challenges large enterprises face," said Ahu Yildrimaz, vice president and co-head of ADP Research Institute, in a statement.
In sharp contrast, large businesses only accounted for 13,000 new jobs in November, suggesting that such employers struggle most to adapt to the labor market's current challenges. Small business, on the other hand, added 46,000 new private-sector jobs in November, according to the report.
Employers watching national labor trends can expect the job growth slow to continue into December, especially if unemployment remains low. The slump in stock prices this month could also add new wrinkles to the job market for December.