US employers add 228K jobs; unemployment rate stays 4.1 pct.

SHARE US employers add 228K jobs; unemployment rate stays 4.1 pct.
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A recruiter from a driller in the shale gas industry, left, speaks with an attendee at a job fair in Cheswick, Pa. On Friday, the U.S. government issues the November jobs report. | AP Photo.

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in its ninth year of economic recovery.

The unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The economy is expanding at a healthy pace, and in many cases employers are scrambling to hire enough qualified workers. Over the past six months, economic growth has exceeded an annual rate of 3 percent, the first time that’s happened since 2014. Consumer confidence has reached its highest level since 2000.

Still, healthy hiring and a low unemployment rate have yet to accelerate wages, which rose 2.5 percent in November compared with a year earlier. The last time unemployment was this low, average wages were growing at a 4 percent annual rate.

Rising confidence among consumers, though, is translating into major purchases. Americans are buying more homes and cars. Auto sales rose 1.3 percent in November compared with a year earlier, to 1.4 million, according to Autodata Corp.

In October, newly built homes sold at their fastest pace in a decade, and existing homes sold at their quickest rate since June.

Businesses are spending more, too: Orders for such long-lasting items as industrial machinery, computers and oil-drilling equipment rose for the third straight month in October.

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