U.S. jobless rate plunges to 4.6 pct., employers add 178K jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent last month, though not for the best reason: Many of the unemployed gave up looking for work.

Employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, nearly matching the average monthly gains this year. Those gains point to the steady economic growth that President-elect Donald Trump is poised to inherit.

Average hourly pay slipped, however, after a solid gain the previous month. Pay has increased at only a modest pace in the past year.

The report’s mixed signals illustrate the challenges facing Trump: On the surface, steady job gains and a low unemployment rate suggest the economy is healthy. But weak pay increases and fewer Americans working or looking for work point to longer-term challenges.