Payrolls largely in line; unemployment rate and wages unexpectedly decline:

  • Nonfarm payrolls increased 178K in November, largely in line with 180K consensus. October growth revised down to 142K from 162K, though September increased to 208 from 191K. This left net revision over prior two months at -2K. Big surprise in the report was the unemployment rate, which fell to nine-year low of 4.6% vs expectations for an unchanged reading of 4.9%. Labor force participation rate ticked down (second straight month) to 62.7% from 62.8%. In addition, average hourly earnings fell 0.1%, the first sequential decline in two years, while consensus was looking for a 0.2% increase following the 0.4% gain in October. This pushed the y/y rate of growth down to 2.5% from 2.8% in prior month. While wage dynamic contrasts with anecdotal trends and other indicators like Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker, some discussion in preview commentary of downside risk from negative calendar effects. Average workweek unchanged at 34.4 hours.