The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, in line with economists' expectations. The economy gained another 35,000 jobs through revisions to September and October's estimates. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5 percent.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.5 percent, was a hair higher than in October; another good sign, since the rate fell for much of the time since the 2008 collapse and only recently leveled out. Wages grew by 2.3 percent, which was a retreat after October's 2.5 percent, and not much higher than the flat 2 percent trend since the Great Recession.
The average rate of job gains has risen considerably recently, and now stands at 218,000 per month over the last three months. But it will take at least 246,000 a month to close the hole left by the Great Recession by the summer of 2017.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin hiking interest rates later this month, based on the belief that the economy is now in steady recovery. While today's report is in many ways a slight downshift from October, it's unlikely to decisively change the Fed's mind either way.