· Total non-farm payroll employment increased 155 thousand in November, following an increase of 237 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 161 thousand in November, while government employment decreased by 6 thousand. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. The average monthly increase in employment was 209 thousand over the prior 12 months. In November, job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.
· The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in November. The unemployment rate was 4.1% in November 2017.
· The number of unemployed decreased by 100 thousand to 5.975 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 120 thousand to 1.253 million and accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.
· The labor force participation rate remained at 62.9% in November, and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months.
· The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in November.
· In November, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $27.35. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.1%.
· Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.3% during the third quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 4.1% and hours worked increased 1.8%. From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting a 3.7% increase in output and a 2.3% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.9% in the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.1% increase in hourly compensation and a 2.3% increase in productivity. Unit labor costs also increased 0.9% over the last four quarters.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 4 thousand to 231 thousand in the week ending December 1. The 4-week moving average was 228 thousand, an increase of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 24 was 1,631 thousand, a decrease of 74 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,667 thousand, an increase of 0.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
· Sales of domestic cars decreased 6.8% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 0.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total vehicle sales were 17.4 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018, and 17.5 million in November of 2017.
· New orders for manufactured goods decreased 2.1% in October, while shipments decreased 0.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, new orders were up 8.3%, while shipments were up 7.6%.
· The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $55.5 billion in October from $54.6 billion in September (revised), as exports decreased to $211.0 billion and imports increased to $266.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit was $502.7, an increase of $51.3 billion, or 11.4%, from the same period in 2017.
· The net worth of households and nonprofits rose to $109.0 trillion during the third quarter of 2018. Domestic nonfinancial debt outstanding was $51.3 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2018, of which household debt was $15.5 trillion, nonfinancial business debt was $15.0 trillion, and total government debt was $20.8 trillion. Domestic nonfinancial debt expanded 4.4% at an annual rate in the third quarter, while household debt increased 3.4%. Consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 5.4%, while mortgage debt grew 3.1%. Nonfinancial business debt rose at an annual rate of 3.9%. Federal government debt increased 6.8%, while state and local government debt decreased 1.4%.
· October construction spending was down 0.1% from the previous month, but was up 4.9% from a year ago. Residential construction decreased 0.5%, while nonresidential construction increased 0.1%. Total private construction decreased 0.4% in October, while total public construction increased 0.8%.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropping after weeks of moderating. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.75% for the week ending December 6, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.81%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.94%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.21%, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.25%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.
· Mortgage applications increased 2.0% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 30, 2018.
· The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 115th consecutive month.
· The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November, for the 106th consecutive month.