US stocks rocketed higher on Friday after November jobs growth soundly trounced expectations.
Non-farm payroll employment increased by 266,000 last month, compared with a consensus estimate of 187,000. That’s the best growth since January.
Wall Street cheered the jobs report by sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 377 points to 28,005.44 in afternoon trading.
Job growth accelerated in November as former striking workers returned to General Motors Company’s (NYSE:GM) payrolls, indicating that the economy remained on a moderate expansion path despite a prolonged manufacturing slump.
The jobless rate dipped to 3.5%, matching the lowest since 1969. Average hourly earnings climbed 3.1% from a year earlier, exceeding projections.
The upbeat jobs numbers are expected to reinforce the Federal Reserve’s position to keep interest rates, which were cut in October, steady as the US economy grows -- albeit at a slower pace.
Job gains broad-based
Manufacturers rebounded, adding 54,000 jobs after a 43,000 drop the prior month, mostly reflecting GM workers returning to work. Despite the boost, factories have faltered amid weak global demand and U.S.-China trade tensions that have curbed business expansion plans.
Job gains were broad-based across industries, led by a 206,000 gain for private-service providers.
The health-care industry hired 45,000 people, hotels and restaurants boosted staff by 45,000 and white-collar professional firms added 31,000 workers.
Retailers only added 2,000 new jobs and the energy industry lost about 7,000 jobs. Jobs in the mining sector fell by 400 for total industry unemployment of 191,800.
But the participation rate, or share of working-age people in the labor force, fell to 63.2% after 63.3% the prior month.
The amount of money the average worker earns, meanwhile, rose 7 cents to $28.29 an hour. Wage gains climbed steadily from 2014 until early this year before leveling out at just over 3% a year.
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