Investing.com - Nonfarm payrolls rose by 155,000 in November, lower than expected, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists expected payrolls to rise by 200,000.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in line with forecasts.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%, below expectations for a rise of 0.3%, easing some inflation fears.
S&P 500 Futures rose slightly after the report was released.
Some of the moderation in hiring in November could be the result of a shortage of qualified workers. But it also fits in with other data showing a rise in layoffs in recent weeks and a decline in a measure of services sector employment in November.
Data for September and October were revised to show 12,000 fewer jobs added than previously reported.
Companies also reduced hours for workers. The average workweek fell to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours in October. The employment report could heighten fears about the economy’s health and lower the probability of the Fed raising interest rates more than once next year.
Financial markets are pricing in one rate hike from the Fed in 2019, compared with expectations for possibly two rate hikes a month earlier, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program. The U.S. central bank is expected to increase borrowing costs on Dec. 18-19 for the fourth time this year.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last month appeared to signal the central bank’s three-year tightening cycle was drawing to a close, saying its policy rate was now “just below” estimates of a level that neither cools nor boosts a healthy economy.
Minutes of the Fed’s November policy meeting published last week showed nearly all officials agreed another rate increase was “likely to be warranted fairly soon,” but also opened debate on when to pause further hikes.
Hiring last month was almost across all sectors. Retail employment increased by 18,200 jobs, likely boosted by an early Thanksgiving. Transportation and warehousing payrolls rose by 25,400 jobs, probably driven by seasonal hiring.
However, an unusually cold November slowed hiring at construction sites. Construction employment rose by only 5,000 jobs after companies added 24,000 workers to their payrolls in October.
Manufacturing employment increased by 27,000 jobs last month after rising 26,000 in October.
-- Reuters contributed to this report.
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