The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported strong November jobs growth today ahead of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting. The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in the month of November, according to the BLS, adding to the possibility that that the Fed may decide to raise interest rates later this month on the stronger employment data.
Overall unemployment remained unchanged from October, standing at 5% for the second straight month. Unemployment has trended down over the last year, with the number of unemployed at 5.8% in November of last year.
The job gains came mostly from construction, professional and technical services, and healthcare, according to the BLS. Employment in construction rose by 46,000, with much of the increase occurring in residential specialty trade contractors (26,000). Professional and technical services added 28,000, while health care employment increased by 24,000.
Oil and gas industry still losing jobs
Even as the generally U.S. economy posted healthier job numbers, the oil and gas industry shed more jobs in the last month. The number of oil and gas extraction jobs was down 2,200 in November, continuing a trend that began in November 2014 when oil prices plummeted with OPEC’s decision to defend market share.
The stronger U.S. job data is not likely to help oil prices, either. A healthier U.S. economy strengthens the dollar, making oil-denominated commodities like crude oil more expensive for buyers using foreign currencies. U.S. crude oil benchmark WTI slipped below $40 per barrel today as news from OPEC’s biannual meeting indicated that the group would likely continue producing at the same pace in order to defend market share.
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