Reflecting increased activity among producers of durable goods -- particularly makers of wood products, non-metallic mineral products, fabricated metal products, computers, communication equipment, semiconductors and electronic instruments -- U.S. manufacturing added 11,000 jobs in November, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Dec. 2. It was manufacturing's second consecutive monthly increase. Fifteen thousand jobs were created in October.
Overall, the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in November, about 10,000 more than economists generally had anticipated. "The November employment increase follows little job growth in September (17,000) and October (24,000)," noted Kathleen P. Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unit of the Labor Department that assembles and publishes the monthly employment data. "To put the November increase in perspective, from January through August of this year, payroll employment growth averaged 196,000 per month," she added. Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, echoed the commissioner's point. "Normally a figure greater than 200,000 is considered very good, but coming after two months of tepid jobs growth, thanks to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the November gain should be viewed as adequate."
The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5% in November.