WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring in the United States jumped last month to its highest level since January as U.S. employers shrugged off global trade conflicts and added 266,000 jobs.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate declined to 3.5% from 3.6% in October, matching a half-century low. And wages rose a solid 3.1% in November compared with a year earlier.
The healthy job gain runs against a widespread view that businesses are struggling to find workers with unemployment so low. Persistent hiring should help keep consumers spending — a key engine of growth as businesses have cut their investment spending and exports have stalled.
Monthly job gains have in fact accelerated since this summer, averaging 205,000 over the past three months, up from just 135,000 in July.
--- By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER AP Economics Writer