Hiring Slows as Wages Grow, Unemployment Holds at Multidecade Low

U.S. employers slowed their hiring in November, but wage growth matched the highest rate in nearly a decade and unemployment held at its lowest level in nearly half a century, signs of a strong economy that could be losing some momentum at the end of a banner year.

Nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 155,000 in November and averaged growth of 170,000 a month over the past three months. It was the slowest three-month growth rate in a year but continued a record-setting streak of 98 straight months of job gains.

. . . At the same time, however, the big driver of the U.S. economy—consumer spending—remains strong, supported in large part by improved wages and low unemployment. The unemployment rate held at 3.7% last month, matching the lowest rate since December 1969, and year-over-year wage growth matched the prior month’s 3.1% pace as the best rate since 2009. With oil prices falling and inflation softening recently, households are keeping more of what they earn.

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