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US jobs growth stronger than expected


US jobs growth was better than expected in November, with payrolls rising by 228,000.

Service, health care and manufacturing firms helped to drive the gains, holding the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%.

Economists had expected an increase of about 200,000 jobs, but early festive season hiring and a rebound after two hurricanes earlier this year helped to boost growth.

Wages increased by 2.5% year-on-year.

The report follows other recent data suggesting that the US economy is in good shape.

US economic growth has hit an annualised rate of 3% or more in the past two quarters, while the unemployment rate is at its lowest since 2000.

The pace of job growth has slowed compared with 2016, but remains higher than the number needed to keep pace with population growth.

And as the labour market tightens, the gap between people of different education levels has narrowed, a sign the expansion is reaching people left out of the earlier economic recovery.

The unemployment rate of those at least 25 years old without a high school diploma fell to 5.2% last month, down from 7.9% a year earlier.

That was the lowest rate recorded to date, US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said.

Rate rise

Economists remain puzzled that wages are not rising more rapidly, given the strong labour market.

Average hourly earnings for private sector workers were $26.55 last month, up about 2.5% from a year earlier.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said he expected that to improve in 2018.

But he said the concerns about sluggish wage growth would not deter the US Federal Reserve from raising interest rates again at its meeting next week, pulling rates away from the unusually low levels seen during the financial crisis.

Source: BBC News