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Markets digest stronger-than-expected November jobs data

Striking United Auto Workers (UAW) march in front of the Stellantis Mopar facility on September 26, in Ontario, California. Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The US economy notched another solid month of job growth, with an added lift from actors and autoworkers coming off the picket lines.

The largest employment gains last month came in health care and government, which added an estimated 93,200 and 49,000 jobs, respectively. Manufacturing saw a boost, too, largely because of the return of striking autoworkers, which lifted motor vehicles and parts employment by 30,000 jobs.

Additionally, the resolution in the Screen Actors Guild strike against Hollywood studios resulted in 17,200 jobs added in the motion picture and sound recording industries.

In total, the BLS was anticipating a net gain of 35,000 workers returning after strikes: The agency estimated that 61,000 workers were absent from the labor market due to labor disputes, versus 96,000 the month before.

Taking into account those one-time gains, the underlying rate of job growth is likely around 160,000 jobs per month, which aligns with the 2019 average, wrote Julia Pollak, senior economist at ZipRecruiter.

A month earlier, those effects swung the other way.

“Some of the weakness last month may have been illusory, just due to the strikes,” Pollak told CNN earlier this week in an interview.

The United Auto Workers union, in an unprecedented and successful action, went on strike against the Big Three automakers of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis from mid-September through the end of October.

October’s employment report included 33,200 jobs counted as lost in the motor vehicles and parts industry. BLS attributed those declines to strike activity: The agency’s strike report for that month counted 25,300 Ford, GM and Stellantis workers on strike.

Additionally, the BLS strike report for November indicated that strikes ended for 16,000 SAG-AFTRA workers after the actors union and Hollywood studios reached an agreement in the early part of last month

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