Job growth slowed in November amid fears that economic growth is losing steam.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 for the month while the unemployment rate again held at 3.7 percent, its lowest since 1969, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payroll growth of 198,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady.
Average hourly earnings, a closely watched sign of whether inflation pressures are building, again rose at a 3.1 percent pace from a year ago. The monthly earnings gain of 0.2 percent fell short of estimates for a 0.3 percent increase. The average work week edged lower by 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours.
Stock futures turned positive following the weak report as traders bet it may mean the Federal Reserve is less aggressive next year on rate hikes.
A separate gauge that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons, sometimes called the real unemployment rate, rose from 7.4 percent to 7.6 percent.
The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell 0.3 percent to 5.9 percent, tied for its lowest on record.