U.S. payrolls grow as jobless rate holds at 17-year-low

Employment continues to grow in the United States even as unemployment remains at its lowest level in 17 years. Wages have increased as well, but at a slower pace.

According to the latest Department of Labor estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 228,000 in November with gains in a number of industry sectors. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, the lowest proportion since 2000.

The initial estimate for payroll gains for October was revised downward 17,000 to 244,000. But the estimate for September was revised upward 20,000 to 38,000. With the latest numbers, nonfarm payrolls have an increased an average of 174,000 a month so far in 2017.

Still, 6.6 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work in November. Of those, 1.6 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.8 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours have been cut or they’re unable to find full-time positions

Employment growth for November was driven in part by the addition of 46,000 jobs in professional and business services, 31,000 jobs in manufacturing and 30,000 jobs in health care. Construction payrolls increased 24,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.5 hours in November. The manufacturing workweek held steady at 40.9 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 5 cents to $26.55 in November. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 64 cents, or 2.5 percent.