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USA

Unemployment stayed at 3.7% last month, with 155K jobs added

Businesses added fewer jobs than expected in November, with 155,000 new payroll figures, the Labor Department reported on Friday. Though it's a slower pace of job growth than most economists had expected, it indicates an economy still growing steadily despite recent painful flailing in the stock market.  

The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent, a 49-month low. Unemployment rates dropped sharply for African-Americans, Asian-Americans and workers with only a high school diploma or less. Rates for other major groups of workers stayed unchanged.

Average hourly earnings grew 3.1 percent, the same pace as last month and the fastest rate of wage growth since 2009. Average hourly earnings for Americans are now at $27.35 an hour.

Some 2.3 million jobs have been created so far this year—the most in a year since 2015. Most of the gains so far this year have been in the goods-producing sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. These jobs tend to pay better than many service-sector jobs, but they also are more susceptible to trade shocks, such as the latest U.S.-China tariffs tussle.

"If the trade situation goes on for long enough, you could start seeing some of the job growth in those sectors be impacted," Martha Gimbel, director of economic research of job website Indeed.com, told MoneyWatch this week.

This is a developing story.

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