The Boston Globe | By Christopher S. Rugaber
December 2, 2016
WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, reflecting the steady economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit. And the unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, though mainly because many people stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed.
Average hourly pay slipped after a solid gain the previous month. Pay has increased at only a modest pace in the past year.
The report’s mixed signals illustrate the challenges facing Trump: Steady job gains and a low unemployment rate suggest that the economy is healthy. But weak pay increases and fewer Americans working or looking for work point to longer-term challenges.
Fewer than 60 percent of adults have jobs — 3 percentage points lower than when the Great Recession began in late 2007. In part, that trend reflects retirements by the nation’s many baby boomers. But it also means hiring hasn’t kept up with population growth.
Seven years into the recovery, pay growth is still below healthy levels. And the number of part-time workers who would like full-time jobs is 28 percent higher than before the recession.
Many of these trends — particularly the drop in the proportion of adults with jobs — emerged years before Obama took office. Trump’s challenge will be to try to reverse them.