In a highly unexpected development, U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed market expectations and rose by 263,000 in the month of November.
This was against market estimates of a slowdown to 200,000.
The unemployment rate was also unchanged and stayed near fifty-year lows at 3.7%.
The recent ADP report missed its mark once more, having forecast a steep dip in jobs, almost halving October’s figures.
September data which came in at a strong 315,000 has been revised sharply downwards to 269,000.
Gains were highest in leisure and hospitality (88,000), health care (45,000), and government (42,000) which were concentrated at the local levels.
Payroll reductions were seen in retail (-32,000) and warehousing and storage (-13,000).
The November uptick is robust compared to average pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the Fed’s tightening has not yet managed to sufficiently curb labour market strength.
Having said that, monthly additions have largely continued to cool through the second half of the year.
Average hourly earnings, month-over-month rose sharply by 0.6% to $32.82, as against expectations of a rise of 0.3%. This amounted to the sharpest rise in 13 months.
Similarly, on an annual basis, hourly earnings went up 5.1% as against forecasts of 4.6% and improved over October’s 4.7%.
Due to higher wages, the Fed will likely find inflationary pressures staying firmer than earlier anticipated, and price stability elusive.
Although there have been reports of mass layoffs in technology companies and the banking sector, the labour market headline for the last month is still relatively firm.
This will be highly frustrating for policymakers who have already executed four 75bps rate hikes this year.
As per the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 74.7% likelihood of a downshift in rate hikes to 50 bps later this month, but this report may delay discussions of a pivot.
Do check out our other economic analysis that can be found here.
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