Trucking Adds 8,400 Jobs; U.S. Unemployment Hits 5-Year Low

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The U.S. unemployment rate was 7% in November, the lowest rate in five years, as the trucking industry and the economy as a whole added jobs, the Labor Department reported Dec. 6.

Trucking jobs increased by 8,400, while the transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, added 30,500 jobs, Labor said. November’s gain in trucking jobs followed an increase of 800 jobs in October, which was double the level previously reported.

The overall unemployment rate was its lowest since November 2008, when it was 6.8%, and lower than October’s 7.3%. Payrolls grew 203,000, the largest jump in three months.

“We’re on the verge of seeing an acceleration of the economy that’s going to be more led by the consumer,” Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco, told Bloomberg News before the report.

The November unemployment rate beat the 7.2% average rate predicted by economists Bloomberg surveyed. Surveyed economists predicted a 185,000-job increase.

Two days before Labor’s report, payment processing firm ADP Employer Services said private companies added 215,000 jobs in November, the most in a year. That compared with 184,000 jobs added in October.

Labor’s unemployment rate is derived from a separate survey of households than its payrolls survey.

Another Dec. 6 report from the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3% in October, compared with 0.2% in September.

“People are feeling better, that’s a positive for the holiday season,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, told Bloomberg. “This year I don’t see the same strong fiscal headwinds ahead of us to impede our momentum.”

Bloomberg’s surveyed economists predicted a 0.2% rise in spending. Incomes fell 0.1%, Commerce said.