U.S. hiring pullback could signal mild slowdown in growth

U.S. hiring slows to 155,000 jobs unemployment rate holds at 3.7

The job market posted its 96th consecutive month of job growth in September, the longest job creation streak in US history, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% - its lowest point in almost 50 years.

"Today's lower-than-expected job numbers may appear particularly disappointing after such a strong month in October", said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. That's less than the roughly 200,000 jobs a month that the economy has been creating for the past year. Manufacturing rose by 27,000, while transportation and warehousing contributed 25,000.

Retail employment rose by 18,200 jobs in November, likely boosted by an early Thanksgiving.

In November, average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers rose by 6 cents, or 0.2 percent, to 27.35 USA dollars. Average hourly earnings increased 3.1% in November from a year earlier, Friday's report said, only the second time they have climbed that much since the recession ended nine years ago.

Small business job creation inched up in November, according to the monthly jobs report for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Job gains have averaged 170,000 per month over the past three months.

But the United States added an average of 206,000 jobs a month through the first 11 months of 2018, above the 182,000 pace during the same period previous year.

While markets still expect the Fed to raise benchmark lending rates later this month, the weaker-than-expected November jobs report "might have an influence" on the Fed's forecasts for the number of rate hikes it expects next year, according to RDQ Economics. "There is nothing here to suggest the economy is suffering a more sudden downturn".

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, rose two-tenths of a percentage point to a five-month high of 7.6 percent.

"The economy continues to churn out new jobs and reflects the strong underlying business conditions that point to steady, albeit slower job growth and economic activity in 2019", said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at consulting firm RSM.

The economic analysis firm said in a client note that, should a single policymaker on the Fed's rate-setting committee take a softer stance, the median forecast for 2019 would then switch from three to two increases.

The markets have been rattled by U.S.

The Fed has generally been hiking at a once per-quarter pace since late 2016.

Stocks have been hurt by uncertainty whether a 90-day truce agreed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend will hold and lead to a lasting easing of trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Retailers added 18,000 jobs in November.

However, an unusually cold November probably slowed hiring at construction sites after companies added 30,000 workers to their payrolls in October. Employers have posted 7 million open jobs, outnumbering the ranks of the unemployed, which fell last month to just under 6 million.

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