November's Blistering Jobs Report: Mission Accomplished for the Fed?

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Blistering. On Fire. Stupendous. Out of the ballpark. Those are just some of the words being used by economists and market watchers to describe November's nonfarm payrolls report, which showed some 266,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy in November as businesses continued to hire workers at a robust clip. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 266,000 new positions were added to the economy last month, far above economists' forecasts of a 180,000 gain. The unemployment rate slipped back down to 3.5%, the lowest since 1969. Average hourly earnings climbed 0.2% on a monthly basis, in line with analysts’ forecasts, and 3.1% year-on-year, above analysts’ forecasts of 3%. Wages advanced 3.1% from a year earlier, an improvement from the prior month’s pace. 

With a formal mandate of targeting low inflation and full employment, the key question is whether Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues can officially declare victory on keeping the longest expansion in U.S. history going - despite growth headwinds almost everywhere else and despite the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The answer: Perhaps for now.