National wages up as employers add 155,000 jobs

(CN) – The Department of Labor said Friday that American employers added just 155,000 jobs in November while unemployment has held steady and average pay grew by just over 3 percent.

The number of new hires marks a disappointing slowdown from recent months. Job increases have averaged about 200,000 per month this year and economists had predicted199,000 jobs were added last month.

The unemployment rate has stayed at 3.7 percent for a third consecutive month and the average hourly pay rate increased by 3.1 percent from a year ago, the same growth rate seen in October.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report says job gains occurred in health care, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

The health care industry hired 32,000 new workers in November, for a total of 328,000 new jobs this year. Manufacturing added 27,000 jobs last month.

Six million Americans are unemployed, according to the report.

The report comes amid trade tension between the U.S. and China as the Federal Reserve has been increasing interesting rates. Experts predict slower but steady growth in 2019.

Hiring has averaged 195,000 new jobs a month for the last six months, and 212,000 for the six months before that.

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a statement Friday that President Donald Trump’s policies “continue to fuel strong and steady job growth.”

“Two full years since the president’s election, 4.6 million jobs have been created, including 155,000 in November. Job gains were significant in manufacturing and transportation and warehousing,” Acosta said. “Wage gains remain steady. Paychecks are growing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.