Where The Jobs Were In November: Who's Hiring And Who Isn't

After an unexpectedly strong October payrolls report (which was since revised slightly downward to 237K jobs from 250K mostly to reflect the payback from jobs lost to "hurricanes" in September), November came in disappointingly low, with only 155K jobs added, 33K below the 198K expected.

However, like last month, it appears that the weather - this time the abnormal cold during the survey week - again impacted the seasonally-adjusted job count, with "workers unable to work due to bad weather" printing at a substantial 129K, well above recent prior Novembers (2017 was 84K, 2016 was 19K, 2015 was 97K). Furthermore, as Southbay Research confirms, it indeed appears that one can blame the weather for today's miss, as follows:

Supply Chain (ex-retail) Strong

  • Manufacturing: +27K (3rd highest for the year)
  • Transportation: +25K (a 3 year high)
  • Wholesale: +10K (3rd highest for the year)

Of note here, the surprisingly strong increase in manufacturing jobs (+27,000) suggests the payrolls miss this month was not about tariffs.

Weather-Sensitive Sectors Hit

  • Retail: +18K (vs 27K November 2017)
  • Leisure & Hospitality: +15K (vs. 20K November 2017)
  • Construction: +5K (vs. 42K November 2017)
  • Mining: -3K (vs. +6K November 2017)

While weather may have affected jobs, it was not immediately clear if it also hit wages, which also disappointed, and while printing 3.1% Y/Y, the November average hourly earnings came in at 0.2%, below the 0.3% expected, while October was revised lower to 0.1%, even as the average November workweek declined fractionally by 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Still, wage pressures appear to be abating. Average hourly earnings for total private industry have risen 0.18% per month so far in Q4, compared to +0.32% in Q3, +0.24% in Q2, and +0.20% in Q1. Heavy cooling in wages for the mining and logging, wholesale trade and utilities industries.

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