The economy added 203,000 jobs in November after adding a revised 200,000 in October, the first time the economy has seen consecutive months of 200,000 plus job growth since November and December of last year. The strong job growth led to a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent. This drop was due to increased employment as the employment-to-population ratio rose by 0.3 pp to 58.6 percent, reversing a fall of the same amount reported for October.
It was impressive that the jobs gains were broadly spread across industries. Manufacturing added 27,000 jobs after adding 16,000 in October. This is the largest two month gain since February and March of 2012. Interestingly, even the non-durable sector has been increasing employment, driven largely by food, adding 10,000 this month. Construction also showed gains, adding 17,000 jobs, the third consecutive month of double digit job growth. Retail and health care were both strong again, adding 22,300 and 28,400 jobs respectively.
This appears to be a stronger report than most analysts had expected.