Strong jobs report puts rate hike in Fed crosshairs

December 7, 2015

WASHINGTON (12/7/15)--Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may have given the Federal Reserve the ammunition it needs to raise interest rates next week.

After adding nearly 300,000 jobs in October, November’s job gains remained healthy, adding 211,000 jobs during the month.

“The message from November’s jobs report is clear: The U.S. labor market is unambiguously strengthening,” Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research, told MarketWatch.

Added John Canally, chief economic strategist for LPL Financial, on Twitter: “This job report all but cements a Fed move on (Dec. 16).”

The Federal Reserve’s final two-day policy-setting meeting in 2015 will take place Dec. 15-16. If the Fed raises rates, it will be the first hike since before the Great Recession.

By industry, the strongest gains came in leisure/hospitality, which added 39,000 jobs; health care, which added 32,000 jobs; and retail/trade, which added 31,000 jobs. Atypically warm weather also bolstered construction and goods producing industries ( Dec. 4).

The unemployment rate remained at 5%, while the labor force participation rate climbed to 62.5% from 62.4%.

One disappointment from the report: the number of involuntary part-time workers climbed to more than 6 million during the month.

“The tight labor market is finally resulting in some acceleration in hourly earnings,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody’s analyst ( “Year-over-year earnings have increased by 2.3% for three consecutive months, indicative of a solidifying trend. Accelerating wage growth has been the one missing element in the labor market expansion.”