US adds 321,000 jobs in November

Man delivering goods in New York Image copyright AFP

The US economy added 321,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate stayed at 5.8%, official Labor Department figures show.

The number of jobs created was well above analysts' forecasts of about 225,000 new jobs in the month.

US employers have added at least 200,000 jobs for 10 months in a row, the longest period of jobs growth since 1995.

The number of jobs created has averaged 241,000 a month this year.

The Labor Department added that 44,000 more jobs were created in September and October combined than the government had previously estimated.

But as in the UK, stronger job creation has yet to lead to a significant increase in salaries.

Analysts said the US economy would continue to improve, despite lower global growth expectations.

They added that companies hiring temporary workers for the winter holidays could be providing a boost to the overall jobs figure,

The US economy is less dependent on exports than Germany, China and Japan, but is more reliant on domestic consumer spending.

Delivery firms have announced ambitious recruitment plans. UPS has said it expects to add up to 95,000 seasonal workers, up from 85,000 last year. FedEx plans to hire 50,000, up from 40,000.

The National Retail Federation estimates that seasonal retail hiring could grow by about 4% to as much as 800,000.

Most recent figures suggest Americans are buying more cars, which is likely to keep factories busy in coming months. Auto sales last month rose to their second-fastest pace this year. Car sales are on track to rise 6% this year from 2013.

The economy is expected to slow in the final three months of the year to an annualised growth rate of 2.5%, down from 4.3% from April to September.

Meanwhile, the US trade deficit fell slightly in October, as exports rebounded, while oil imports dipped to the lowest level in five years.

The deficit edged down 0.4% to $43.4bn, as against a revised $43.6bn in September, the Commerce Department reported.

Exports climbed 1.2% to $197.5bn, recovering after a September dip.

Imports also rose by 0.9% to $241bn, but that increase was tempered by a 0.6% fall in imports of petroleum, which dropped to the lowest level since November 2009.

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