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US firms keep hiring, economy OK

WASHINGTON (AP) — American businesses have complained for years that they can’t find the workers they need to fill available jobs. November’s robust hiring gain suggests that at least some have found a way to do so.

With the unemployment rate now at a half-century low of 3.5%, many economists have also warned that hiring would soon slow simply because there are fewer unemployed workers available.

That day may still come, but it didn’t in November. Employers added 266,000 jobs last month, the most since January. Monthly hiring has, in fact, picked up since earlier this year: It averaged 205,000 for the past three months, up from a recent low of 135,000 in July.

Friday’s jobs report largely squelched fears of a recession that had taken hold in the summer. Steady job growth has helped reassure consumers that the economy is expanding and that their jobs and incomes remain secure. That should boost spending and growth in the months ahead.

President Donald Trump seized on the strong jobs report as he tries to focus voters’ attention on the state of the economy rather than the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats. The latest numbers also come as Trump’s trade war with China had prompted companies to cut back on their investments in plants and industrial equipment, slowing growth.

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