Employers add 178,000 jobs, unemployment rate falls 4.6 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says U.S. employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, reflecting the steady economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit.

The economy this year has added an average of 180,000 jobs a month — more than enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. The pace of hiring is keeping the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates at its next meeting in less than two weeks.

The unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, though mainly because many people stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed. The number of unemployed fell by 387,000 to 7.4 million, but only about a third of that drop occurred because people found work.

Average hourly pay slipped after a strong gain in October. Pay has grown only modestly over the past year.