Economy Records Strongest Job Growth in Years

Total payroll employment rose by 321,000 in November, but public-sector job growth remained unchanged.
by | December 5, 2014

The Labor Department issued its strongest jobs report in nearly three years on Friday, signaling that employers are hiring again.

Employment rose by an estimated 321,000 in November, a figure about 100,000 above average monthly job gains so far this year, far exceeding economists’ expectations.

A single jobs report isn’t necessarily indicative of longer-term trends. But the magnitude of the increase, coupled with healthier jobs reports in recent months, is a positive sign. Revisions to previous estimates for September and October also added another 44,000 jobs.

Industries with the largest monthly job gains included professional and business services (+86,000), retail trade (+50,200), education and health (+38,000), leisure and hospitality (+32,000) and manufacturing (+28,000).

The public sector had little to contribute to the strong jobs report, though. State and local government employment was essentially unchanged last month, recording an uptick of just 2,000 total jobs. As reported previously, the sector’s job growth ranks among the slowest of any industry over the past 12 months.

Historically, changes in public-sector employment typically lag behind private employers. So, if private-sector job growth accelerates, it’s likely that the accompanying increased revenue for governments could eventually translate into more hiring.

Select a government sector below to view recent trends in employment: