US jobs growth remained solid in November as the economy added 211,000 jobs, slightly above expectations.The data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also showed the jobless rate held at its seven-and-a-half year low of 5%.
The jobs stats showed that the construction, food services and retail sectors all saw healthy job increases.
The robust figures could now pave the way for the first US interest rate rise in close to 10 years later this month.
Labour market strength is an important consideration for the US central bank over whether to move interest rates.
On Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s singalled to a joint Congressional committee that the Federal Reserve was on track for a December rates rise.
The Fed, whose policy-setting committee will meet on 15 and 16 December, cut rates to near-zero in December 2008 in response to the financial crisis.
The labour bureau also revised September and October’s figures to show 35,000 more jobs than had been previously reported.
Meanwhile, average hourly earnings increased by four cents to $25.25, or 0.2%, following a 0.4% rise in October.
Sectors which did not fare well in November, were manufacturing, which shed 1,000 posts, and mining, which lost 11,000 positions.
Juan Perez, of Tempus Consulting in Washington DC, said: “The most important thing from the reading is it’s in line with expectations. The change is obviously a positive because it’s above 200,000, and last month’s was revised up to 298,000.”
He added: “But looking at this NFP (non-farms payrolls), and taking Yellen’s comments into account yesterday, which were basically that she likes what she’s seeing, we’re going to be increasing rates here in the States on 16 December.”