U.S. hiring accelerates with big November gain

Hiring has accelerated in the United States with an estimated addition of 321,000 jobs in November, the biggest monthly gain in nearly three years.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent, the lowest level in more than six years.

The November increase in nonfarm payrolls was the largest since January 2012 and exceeded the average monthly gain over the past year by nearly 100,000 jobs.

Initial estimates for job gains in October and September were revised upward a total of 44,000 to 514,000.

With the latest numbers, U.S. payrolls have increased an average of 224,000 over the past year.

Still, 2.8 million people were counted in November among the long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work 27 weeks or longer. Anoher 6.9 million people were counted among the ranks of those working part-time because their hours have been cut back or they’ve been unable to find full-time positions.

The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8 percent, one of the lowest levels since 1978.

Payroll gains in November were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Professional and business services added a net 86,000 jobs. Payrolls increased 50,000 in retail trades, 29,000 in health care, 28,000 in manufacturing, 27,000 in food services and 20,000 each in  construction and financial activities.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.6 hours. The manufacturing workweek lengthened two-tenths of an hour to 41.1 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 9 cents to $24.66. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 2.1 percent.