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The United States added 266,000 jobs in November, while jobs gains in October and September were upwardly revised, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released on Friday.
The revised numbers for October and September added another 41,000 jobs combined.
As for November’s figures, they were well above the 180,000 job gains expected by economists. The month’s tally was bolstered in part by the end of a strike at General Motors Co., which accounted for nearly 50,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% from 3.6%, matching a 50-year low.
Average hourly wages were also improved, rising 7 cents to $28.29. However, pay increases over the last 12 months slowed to 3.1% from 3.2%, which indicates that the month’s job gains were likely on the lower end of the pay scale.
The government’s latest report was in stark contrast to a similar report from payroll processor ADP, which was released on Wednesday. That report showed an increase of 67,000 private-sector jobs in November, the smallest gain seen since May.
Market expectations were for a 156,000-job gain.
The ADP report does not include data related to the GM strike.