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December 02, 2005
Job Growth Gains Steam in November

Employers added 215,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, up significantly from revised job gains of 17,000 in September and 44,000 in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent.

Beginning in October, the bureau added questions to one of its surveys to identify people who evacuated from their homes, even temporarily, due to Hurricane Katrina. Data collected through these questions do not represent all evacuees; persons living outside of the scope of the survey--such as those living in hotels or shelters-are not included.

The questions were asked of persons in the survey sample throughout the country, since some evacuees relocated far from the storm-affected areas.

Information gathered in November showed that about 900,000 persons age 16 and over had evacuated from where they were living in August due to Hurricane Katrina. These evacuees either had returned to their homes or were living in other residential units covered in the survey in November. Half of the evacuees had returned to their August 2005 residences.

Of all evacuees identified, 55.2 percent were in the labor force in November. The unemployment rate for people identified as evacuees was 20.5 percent; it was much higher for those who had not returned home (27.8 percent) than for those who had returned (12.5 percent).

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls rose by 3 cents in November to $16.32. This followed an increase of 10 cents (as revised) in October. Average weekly earnings decreased by 0.1 percent over the month to $549.98. Over the year, both average hourly and weekly earnings increased by 3.2 percent.

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