Unemployment stayed constant at 5.8% because the jobs count is based on the survey of employers, whereas unemployment is based on a direct household survey. The latter indicated many fewer job gains and the adult participation rate (those employed and looking for work as a share of the total adult population) stayed depressed.
Gains were widespread. Construction, manufacturing, retail trade, business and professional services, finance, health care, leisure and hospitality, information technology, and government all added jobs.
Hourly earnings rose 0.4%, a much stronger pace than in recent months.
Job gains for October were revised upward to 243,000 and the overall stronger pace reflects the pickup in economic growth in the second and third quarters, which averaged 4.2%.
Still forecasters expect the pace of GDP advance to moderate to between 2.5% and 3% going forward, indicating the surge in jobs growth could be short lived.
Consumer spending, which accounts for nearly 70% of GDP, continues to grow at only a moderate pace. Household balance sheets have improved since the Great Recession -- housing and stock prices are up and many families have worked off credit card debt -- but those tough times have inspired a new caution among consumers.
The official jobless rate is down from its recession peak of 10%, because so many adults have quit looking for work. If the same percentage of adults were employed or looking for work today as when Presidents Obama or George W. Bush took office, the jobless rate would be nearly 10% and 12%, respectively.
Nearly one in 6 men between ages 25 and 54 -- too old for college and too young to retire -- are jobless. Many are simply sitting on America's new virtual park bench: at home watching ESPN and relying on friends and relatives for support.
Immigration and the expansion of income support programs that make it easier for adults to not work have at once pushed down wages for less-skilled workers and made opting out of the labor force somewhat easier. The most significant problem, however, has been the general slowdown in economic growth.