November’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records a net gain in U.S. total jobs during the month of +228,000. The latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada highlights hiring north of the border in November rising by +80,000 jobs.
Therefore, total payrolls in the U.S. and Canada combined climbed by +308,000 in the second last month of this year, a quite strong showing.
Furthermore, the unemployment rates in both nations are now sitting at exceptionally low levels.
The U.S. jobless figure in November at 4.1% stayed level with October. But it should be noted that 4.1% is the best figure for U.S. unemployment since December 2000’s 3.9%.
Canada’s out-of-work proportion improved to 5.9% in November from 6.3% in October.
The latest unemployment rate for Canada is the best since February 2008 (also 5.9%). More startling, though, is the fact that in the entire history of Statistics Canada’s seasonally-adjusted jobless numbers, there has been only one month with a figure lower than now – October 2007 at 5.8%.
Let’s look at the U.S. labor market data in more detail.
November’s jobs spurt of +228,000 added to October’s even heftier burst of +244,000 has yielded a latest-two-months surge of nearly half a million.
The monthly average of total U.S. jobs creation from January through November of 2017 has been +174,000. Surprisingly, that’s a little slower than the +190,000 number for the same first-eleven-months period of 2016.
Among major industry sub-sectors, those that have experienced monthly-average increases year to date in 2017 compared with year-to-date 2016 have been as follows: manufacturing, +16,000 versus -3,000; construction +16,000 versus +13,000; and professional and business services, +47,000 versus +45,000.
Those major sub-sectors with worsening monthly-averages year-to-date in 2017 versus year-to-date 2016 have been: financial services, +12,000 versus +14,000; leisure and hospitality, +25,000 versus +30,000; education and health, +38,000 versus +46,000; and government, +4,000 versus +18,000.
Retail has suffered the most severe negative swing, -3,000 on average so far in 2017 relative to +17,000 on average in 2016.
The U.S. construction sector’s not seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment rate is currently 5.0%, whereas a year ago in November 2016 it was 5.7%.
Manufacturing’s NSA unemployment rate has improved to 2.6% presently versus 3.9% twelve months previously.
There continues to be little movement in U.S. earnings. They remain in a range of +2.5% to +3.0% year over year.
For all workers in America’s economy, including supervisory personnel, average hourly earnings are +2.5% year over year and average weekly earnings are +3.1%. Construction workers are faring a bit better hourly, +2.9%, but a tiny degree worse weekly, also +2.9%.
For economy-wide workers not including bosses, the U.S. average hourly and weekly rate gains this November were +2.3% and +2.6%. Construction’s comparable numbers were +2.7% and +2.2%.
Turning to Canada, the average monthly jobs increase with only one more period to measure in 2017 has been +31,000, nearly double 2016’s January-to-November level of +17,000.
Manufacturing employment in Canada has averaged +8,000 year-to-date in 2017 versus -5,000 year-to-date in 2016.
Canadian construction has edged up slightly to +4,000 jobs as a monthly average so far in 2017 compared with +2.000 for January through November 2016.
The good news story for Canada has been the way in which full-time employment growth has become so dominant. Full-time jobs on average in 2017 have been +34,000 per month. In 2016, they registered no average month-to-month change whatsoever.
In a comparison of year-over-year jobs growth rates, Canada is now leading the U.S. in all four most-intensely scrutinized categories: total jobs, +2.1% for Canada versus +1.4% for the U.S.; service-sector jobs, +1.8% versus +1.5; manufacturing, +5.4% versus +1.5%; and construction, +3.5% versus +2.7%.
In Canada’s regional labour markets, the fastest year-over-year rates of employment increases have occurred in British Columbia, +3.8%, and Prince Edward Island, +3.5%. Ontario is the other province with a performance, +2.6%, considerably better than the national figure.
Nominal year-over-year jobs creation in Canada has amounted to nearly +400,000. The key provincial contributions to that outsized jump have come about half from Ontario, a quarter from B.C. and a fifth from Quebec.
With respect to favorable (i.e., low) provincial unemployment rates, B.C. is currently the nation’s leader, at 4.8%, followed by Manitoba and Quebec, both at 5.4%.
B.C.’s jobless rate is now at its lowest point since September 2008’s 4.4%.
A truly special situation, however, has arisen in Quebec. In ‘la belle province’, the unemployment rate has now dipped below any other month on record going all the way back to January 1976.
Central bank decision-makers in both the U.S. and Canada will peruse the foregoing mainly upbeat numbers and become more firmly resolved to get on with hiking interest rates.