Payrolls and wages blow past expectations, flying in the face of Fed rate hikes

Payrolls and wages blow past expectations, flying in the face of Fed rate hikes

An employee works at the BMW manufacturing plant in Greer, South Carolina, October 19, 2022.

Bob Strong | Reuters

Job growth was much better than expected in November despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to slow the labor market and tackle inflation.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 263,000 for the month while the unemployment rate was 3.7%, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for an increase of 200,000 on the payrolls number and 3.7% for the jobless rate.

The monthly gain was a slight decrease from October’s upwardly revised 284,000.

The numbers likely will do little to slow a Fed that has been raising interest rates steadily this year to bring down inflation still running near its highest level in more than 40 years.

In another blow to the Fed’s anti-inflation efforts, average hourly earnings jumped 0.6% for the month, double the Dow Jones estimate. Wages were up 5.1% on a year-over-year basis, also well above the 4.6% expectation.

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