United States businesses increased hiring across the board in November, adding 321,000 nonfarm jobs and putting 2014 on pace to be the best year for job growth since 1999.
According to the Labor Department, November's numbers were the highest since January 2012. The unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent, unchanged from October but down from November 2013. The labor market's improving growth could help cushion the U.S. from a slowdown in the global economy. Strong job gains also bring the day when the Federal Reserve starts increasing short-term rates that have been near zero for six years during the financial crisis, recession and slow recovery.
Despite the steady improvements, at least 2.8 million people in November were out of work for more than six months, making up 30.7 percent of the unemployed. The number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time employment was 6.9 million. Economists predict wages to rise as unemployment falls and companies compete to hire from the shrinking pool of workers. This healthy mix could help earnings, as well.