The US economy added more jobs than anticipated last month, showing that the labour market is strong as traders parse data to determine if the economy is heading towards a soft landing.
Employers added 199,000 jobs last month, up from October's job gains of 150,000, the Labour Department reported on Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones estimated the US would add 190,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate dipped from 3.9 per cent to 3.7 per cent.
The Labour Department reported that November's jobs report partly reflects the return of striking car workers. Job gains were also reported in health care and government.
Employment growth for November was below the average monthly gain of 240,000 over the previous 12 months, the department said.
Friday's report was expected to add more insight into whether a soft landing – that is cooling the economy without steering it into a recession – was likely.
Separate data this week showed that employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the lowest level since 2021, in another sign that the labour market is cooling.
Meanwhile, inflation has significantly moderated from a 9.1 per cent peak last year to its current level of 3.2 per cent. And a measure closely watched by the Federal Reserve showed prices rose by 2.5 per cent, which is not far off the central bank's 2 per cent target.
Average hourly earnings increased 0.4 per cent in November. On an annual basis, wage earnings increased by 4 per cent, which is still above the inflation rate.
Economic activity is also expected to cool in the final quarter of 2023 after gross domestic product grew by 5.2 per cent from the July-September period.
The Fed is due to meet next week for its final meeting of the year, when markets anticipate that it will leave interest rates unchanged.