In an upbeat jobs report, the unemployment rate held at a six-year low of 5.8% in November, and the economy added 321,000 jobs…the biggest gain since January 2012. Payrolls at factories rose by 28,000 – the most in a year, and professional and business service jobs grew by 86,000 – the most since November 2010. The economy has added at least 200,000 jobs for ten straight months – the best stretch in over 30 years. So far in 2014, the US has added 2.65 million jobs, marking the biggest increase since a 3.2 million gain in 1999.
In other positive news, the service sector expanded in November at the second-fastest pace in over nine years, according to the ISM non-manufacturing index, which rose to 59.3 – the second-best level since August 2005. At the same time, the ISM manufacturing index held near the strongest pace in three years.
The US trade deficit narrowed .4% in October to $43.4 billion, as exports rose 1.2% to $197.5 billion while imports were restrained by falling oil prices, increasing .9%.
Source: Census Bureau
Productivity grew at a 2.3% annual pace in the third quarter, according to revised data from the Labor Department. Output of goods and services was revised up to 4.9% for the quarter. Productivity has now risen by more than 2% for four of the past five quarters.
Consumers scaled back their use of credit cards ahead of the holiday shopping season. Consumer credit rose at an annual rate of 4.9%, or $13.2 billion, to $3.28 trillion in October, marking the slowest pace in almost a year.