In addition to the November jobs report falling below expectations, October's count was revised lower from an initially reported 250,000 to 237,000. Employers posted 7 million open jobs, outnumbering the number of unemployed people, which fell last month to just under 6 million.
"This is the sort of jobs report that manages to both calm folks at the Fed a bit - no, we're not right on the cusp of overheating - while also continuing the narrative of robust ongoing jobs growth that will, if it continues, keep bringing unemployment down", said Justin Wolfers, a economist at the University of MI. Market watchers are expecting a more measured trajectory of interest rate increases for 2019. Unemployment rates dropped sharply for African-Americans, Asian-Americans and workers with only a high school diploma or less.
"This is still a solid gain that suggests economic growth is gradually slowing back towards its potential pace", said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.
"Since the Fed is now very data-dependent, stronger data should give the market more confidence that the Fed will continue hiking in 2019", said Veronica Clark, an economist at Citigroup in NY.
"The economy continues to churn out new jobs and reflects the strong underlying business conditions that point to steady, albeit slower job growth and economic activity in 2019", said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at consulting firm RSM.
The November jobs report is off the mark of the average of 209,000 jobs created per month over the prior 12 months, but the number of employed Americans once again reached an all-time high of 156,795,000, the 13th record-breaking month since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. Both the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were left largely unchanged at 62.9 percent and 60.6 percent, respectively.
Americans increased their spending in October by the most in seven months, and their incomes grew by the most in nine months, according to a government report last week.
Hiring has averaged 195,000 a month for the past six months, modestly below an average of 212,000 in the previous six.
Investors, however, are mostly focused on where the economy is headed.
Job gains were apparent in most industries, including significant gains in transportation and warehousing (25,000) and in manufacturing (27,000).
The leisure and hospitality unemployment rate for the month remained slightly higher than the national average at 5.3 percent, or 729,000 people unemployed.
However, an unusually cold November slowed hiring at construction sites. The uptick in wages, however, is consistent with Fannie's November telephone survey that indicated consumers were more confident about their jobs and wages. Average weekly earnings were $420.94.
The Fed has generally been hiking at a once per-quarter pace since late 2016. New home building fell 2.6 percent in October from a year earlier.