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Latest Jobs Report: Mixed Signals

The just-released jobs report shows that employers have added 178,000 workers in November. The unemployment rate dropped from 4.9% last month to 4.6%, the lowest reading in nine years.

PNC’s Deputy Chief Economist Gus Gaucher, however, notes this as “mixed news.” For one, the lower unemployment number is likely due to less workers in the labor force, rather than only gains in employment. Additionally, there has been a drop in hourly earnings.

The workforce is increasingly bifurcated based on skill level. In the past, there were high-paying jobs for low-skilled workers, but now, technology and globalization have diminished those roles. Therefore, low-skilled workers are having trouble finding steady positions, and employers are having trouble recruiting/retaining high-skilled workers. Combined with a reluctance to increase wages, some workers have been holding out on the sideline.

The largest gains in employment were seen in professional and business services and healthcare, whereas manufacturing and retail slowed.

The Trump administration will inherit 81 consecutive months of private sector job growth, which is a fortuitous position to be in, given that’s the longest streak on record.

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Daniella Soloway


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