U.S. markets are surging higher today as the labor market turned in a robust performance in November, with nonfarm payrolls boosted by 266,000 and the unemployment rate dropping to 3.5%, according to Labor Department numbers released Friday.
The Schwab US Broad Market ETF (SCHB) is up 1% today, as the S&P 500 screamed 30 points higher, within spitting distance of recent all-time highs made on Monday, while the Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average are following suit as well. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund ETF Shares (VTI) is also up just over 1%.
The jobs totals easily bested the Wall Street consensus, where economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for consistent job growth of 187,000 and saw the unemployment rate holding constant from October’s 3.6%. The decline in November’s jobless rate came during a corresponding 0.1 percentage point fall in the labor force participation rate, to 63.2%.
“This is a blowout number and the U.S. economy continues to be all about the jobs,” Tony Bedikian, head of global markets for Citizens Bank said in a note. “The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low and wages are increasing. Business owners may be getting more cautious due to trade and political uncertainty and growth may be slow, but consumers keep spending and the punch bowl still seems full.”
The unemployment rate of 3.5%, down from 3.6% in October, is back to the 2019 low and is tied with the lowest jobless rate since 1969. The U.S. economy needs to generate roughly 107,000 jobs per month to maintain the unemployment level, according to calculations from the Atlanta Federal Reserve.
Most importantly however, with lingering concerns over the trade war with China, investors needed a morale boost, and a reason to continue buying equities after a recent several day selloff earlier this week.
“Today’s job report, more than any other report in recent months, squashed any lingering concerns about an imminent recession in the US economy,” said Gad Levanon, head of the Conference Board’s Labor Market Institute. “Employment growth also shows no signs of slowing further despite the historically low unemployment rate.”
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