Companies added 208,000 workers in November, indicating steady progress in the labor market, according to a report by the ADP Research Institute. The increase in employment followed a revised 233,000 gain the prior month, however, the median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 222,000. Payrolls have climbed by at least 200,000 in seven of the last eight months.
Domestic demand, combined with falling energy costs, is encouraging employers to bring in new employees even as global economies struggle. Faster wage gains would help provide an added boost to household spending.
Goods-producing industries, such as manufacturers and construction companies, increased headcounts by 32,000 in November. Employment in construction rose by 17,000, while factories added 11,000 jobs. Payrolls at service providers grew by 176,000. Companies employing 500 or more workers added 42,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses, with 50 to 499 employees, took on 65,000 workers, and the smallest companies increased payrolls by 101,000.
Employment probably increased by 230,000 in November after a 214,000 gain the previous month, and the unemployment rate is projected to hold at 5.8 percent, the lowest since July 2008. Payrolls gains have averaged 228,500 so far this year, putting the labor market on pace for its strongest year since 1999.
Federal Reserve officials have cited labor market progress as they remove the accommodations initially intended to stimulate the economy. In October, the central bankers decided to end a monthly asset purchase program that expanded the balance sheet to almost $4.5 trillion, while keeping interest rates near zero.