WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — America’s employers added 263,000 jobs in November, defying expectations amid the Fed’s efforts to gradually cool the economy.
The report Friday from the Labor Department showed the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%.
Last month’s hiring amounted to a substantial increase. All year, as inflation has surged and the Fed has imposed ever-higher borrowing rates, America’s labor market has defied skeptics, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs, month after month.
Job growth has slowed this year, from a monthly average of 540,000 from January through March to 289,000 in the three months that ended in October. But that pace is still strong — much more than the Fed would like. Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted in a speech Wednesday that the economy requires only about 100,000 added jobs a month to keep pace with population growth.
A survey of economists by the data firm FactSet predicted that employers added 200,000 jobs last month.
Last quarter, the economy expanded at a brisk 2.9% annual rate after having shrunk in the first six months of the year. Consumer spending picked up, and a spike in exports helped boost growth.
Americans kept increasing their spending in October — even after accounting for inflation — the government reported Thursday. Consumers stepped up their purchases of cars, restaurant meals and other services.
In addition to job cuts from tech behemoths like Amazon, Meta and Twitter, smaller companies — including DoorDash, the real estate firm Redfin and the retailers Best Buy and the Gap — have said they will lay off workers.
The cost of such goods as used cars, furniture and appliances, Powell noted Wednesday, are easing, and housing costs will likely slow next year. That leaves price acceleration in much of the economy’s vast service sector as the most likely source of persistent inflation pressures. Those price spikes, the Fed chair said, largely reflect rising pay.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.