US: Non-farm payrolls disappoints with print of 155,000 in November - ING

James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, notes that the US non-farm payrolls rose 155,000 in November versus the 198,000 consensus forecast, while wage growth rose 0.2% month on month.

Key Quotes

 “There were a net 12,000 downward revisions to the past two months’ data. Manufacturing employment was good, rising 27,000, but services saw slower gains than hoped.”

“However, markets shouldn’t be too disappointed as the fact that there aren’t enough workers was almost certainly a major factor. Indeed, the National Federation of Independent Businesses continues to report that the proportion of firms that can’t fill the vacancies remains at an all-time high. The rate of jobs growth has accelerated in 2018 to average 206,000 per month versus 182,000 in 2017, but it will slow next year, partly for this very reason.”

“Conversely, wage pressure will continue to build because of worker shortages. Wage growth rose 0.2% month on month leaving the annual rate of wage growth at 3.1%. Firms are also increasingly having to compete on non-wage benefits with this week’s Fed’s Beige Book stating that “most Districts noted examples of firms enhancing non-wage benefits, including health benefits, profit-sharing, bonuses, and paid vacation days”.”

“If we round out the numbers, the unemployment rate remains at a 49-year low of 3.7% with underemployment at 7.6%.”

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