What to look for in the November jobs report

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November jobs report: What to look for – Dec. 8, 2017

See who's hiring for the holidays

The monthly jobs report — one of the most closely watched measures of the U.S. economy — is due out Friday morning.

Here are four questions to consider when the numbers come out at 8:30 a.m. ET:

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How low can unemployment go? The unemployment rate stands at 4.1%, the lowest rate in 17 years. It is expected to remain unchanged, according to a forecast of economists surveyed by CNNMoney.

But many economists do expect it to go lower in the coming year. Some expect unemployment by the end of 2018 to fall to about 3.6%, which would be the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years.

Related: Is Trump keeping his promises on manufacturing?

Any remaining hurricane effect? Employers added 261,000 jobs in October. A lot of those jobs were a rebound from the hit employment took in September, when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma forced businesses to temporarily close. Economists expect more modest gains this time, an increase of about 190,000 jobs. That’s pretty close to the average number added in the other nine months this year.

Hey boss, can I have a raise? Average private sector wages are up 2.4% in the last year. The good news is that wages have climbed faster than prices have increased, meaning Americans on average have a little more money in their pockets.

But it’s still relatively low rate of increase. With unemployment rates this low, wages typically rise faster as employers have to pay more to find or keep the workers they want. Ten years ago, before the start of the Great Recession, wages were rising at a 3% clip.

Obama vs. Trump, who’s winning? In President Trump’s first nine months in office, the economy has added 1.5 million jobs, compared to 1.7 million in President Obama’s last nine months. It’s unlikely that Trump will catch up to Obama with Friday’s report.

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 8, 2017: 5:36 AM ET

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