skip navigation

By the Numbers

Featuring brief segments of economic analysis from our senior economist Michael Bazdarich, PhD.

The economic analysis we previously featured in By the Numbers is now available on the Western Asset Blog. This page will no longer be updated.

No Grinch in November Job Growth, Wages a Somewhat Different Story

Payroll jobs registered nice November gains in data released this morning. Total payroll jobs rose by 228,000 in November, with a slight 3,000 upward revision to October’s level. Private-sector payroll jobs rose 221,000, with a more substantial 30,000 upward revision to October. The “core” jobs measure we track closely, private payrolls excluding construction and retail, rose by 178,000 jobs, with 18,000 of upward revisions to October.

October’s job gains were larger than what we saw for November, but that was because the October gains were mostly a snapback from hurricane-depressed September job levels. Indeed, the October gains did not fully offset the below-trend experience of September, so some of the November gains should also be viewed as hurricane-snapback.

Average the last three months together—both hurricane-depressed and hurricane-snapback—and our core measure shows growth of 148,000 jobs per month since August. This is actually below the 170,000 per month average seen in recent years.

Once again, our core jobs measure abstracts from construction and retailing, because of the particularly high short-term volatility these sectors show, especially around this time of year. Construction job growth in November was steady at +24,000, with gains there in recent months right on trend. Retail jobs rose by 29,000. While this is a pick-up from the declining job trend retail had shown through the first eight months of the year, one should keep in mind that November marks the start of the Christmas hiring season, so, again, these sectors are subject to seasonal distortion.

Today’s report was disappointing to Wall Street in that hourly wages rose only 0.2%, with a 0.15% downward revision to October. On net, the 12-month growth rates in hourly wages for all workers rose “only” 2.5% through November, below expectations (hopes?). We actually prefer the older measure that covers average hourly wages for nonsupervisory workers (those workers who are actually paid by the hour, rather than drawing a weekly or monthly salary). The latter measure was also up 0.2% in November, with a 0.15% downward revision to October, but its 12-month growth rate is a mere 2.3% and has been decelerating steadily over the past two years.

Monthly Job Growth
Monthly Job Growth
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 30 Nov 17

Michael Bazdarich

Product Specialist/Economist

Mike brings more than 45 years of experience to his position. "By the Numbers" will address economic data releases that are pertinent to a broad range of investors.

Prior to joining the Firm in 2005, Mike ran his own consulting firm, MB Economics. He earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.

Sign up to receive email updates as new reports are released.

© Western Asset Management Company, LLC 2022. This publication is the property of Western Asset and is intended for the sole use of its clients, consultants, and other intended recipients. It should not be forwarded to any other person. Contents herein should be treated as confidential and proprietary information. This material may not be reproduced or used in any form or medium without express written permission.
Past results are not indicative of future investment results. This publication is for informational purposes only and reflects the current opinions of Western Asset. Information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Opinions represented are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security and are subject to change without notice. Statements in this material should not be considered investment advice. Employees and/or clients of Western Asset may have a position in the securities mentioned. This publication has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is your responsibility to be aware of and observe the applicable laws and regulations of your country of residence.
Western Asset Management Company Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários Limitada is authorized and regulated by Comissão de Valores Mobiliários and Brazilian Central Bank. Western Asset Management Company Pty Ltd ABN 41 117 767 923 is the holder of the Australian Financial Services Licence 303160. Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 200007692R is a holder of a Capital Markets Services Licence for fund management and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Western Asset Management Company Ltd is a registered Financial Instruments Business Operator and regulated by the Financial Services Agency of Japan. Western Asset Management Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) (FRN 145930). This communication is intended for distribution to Professional Clients only if deemed to be a financial promotion in the UK as defined by the FCA. This communication may also be intended for certain EEA countries where Western Asset has been granted permission to do so. For the current list of the approved EEA countries please contact Western Asset at +44 (0)20 7422 3000.