On The Money — All about the new jobs report

Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here:

Today’s Big Deal: We’re digging into the latest jobs report. We’ll also tell you more about how Congress averted a federal government shutdown.

For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane and Naomi Jagoda. Write us at or @SylvanLane and or @NJagoda. You can reach our Finance team colleague Aris Folley at or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

November jobs report: Five things to know

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The November jobs report gave a muddled picture of an improving economy.

  • Overall job growth fell far short of expectations, with the U.S. adding just 210,000 of the roughly 500,000 jobs that analysts projected the economy to gain last month.

  • Even so, the unemployment rate sunk from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent, landing less than 1 percentage point above the pre-pandemic jobless rate.

Here are five things to know about the November jobs report.

  1. A confusing report on a confusing economy: The November jobs report defied expectations across the board. The divergence between the topline jobs gain and other gauges of labor market strength left economists baffled, but generally optimistic.

  2. Revisions could change the outlook: The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to gauge the strength of the economy at a particularly critical time.

  3. Women are coming back to the workforce: The November jobs report showed encouraging signs of workers sidelined by the pandemic, particularly women, coming back to the job market.

  4. Wage growth may be cooling: After surging through the year thanks to high labor demand, wage growth has started to settle down slightly.

  5. A tough sell for Biden and Democrats: Though the report has ample signs of strength for the labor market, the November jobs haul could be hard to pitch for the president and his party as they attempt to cement their economic agenda.

We break it all down here.


Biden signs bill averting government shutdown

President Biden signed a short-term funding bill on Friday, averting a government shutdown hours before the deadline.

A group of conservatives in the House and Senate had threatened the fate of the legislation over opposition to Biden’s coronavirus vaccine rule for businesses before finally allowing the legislation to pass.

The bill funds government operations through Feb. 18, meaning that lawmakers will need to work on another appropriations bill early in the new year.

  • The bill was in limbo after it passed the House Thursday afternoon because a small group of Senate Republicans sought a vote on an amendment to defund Biden’s vaccine requirement.

  • Schumer ultimately agreed to hold a vote on the amendment. The amendment failed on a party-line vote, and the overall funding bill passed the Senate by a vote of 69-28.

  • Enactment of the government funding bill gives Democrats space to work on advancing the rest of Biden’s economic agenda and carving out a path to address the debt ceiling.

Read more from The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant here.


US could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis

The U.S. could default within weeks if Congress doesn’t take action to address the debt limit, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) said Friday.

BPC projects that the “X date” when the U.S. would be unable to meet all of its obligations will most likely take place between Dec. 21-Jan. 28. That range is narrower than the think tank’s previous estimate of mid-December to early February.

BPC urged Congress to raise or suspend the debt limit before it leaves Washington for the year.

“Those who believe the debt limit can safely be pushed to the back of the December legislative pileup are misinformed,” Shai Akabas, BPC director of economic policy, said in a news release. “Congress would be flirting with financial disaster if it leaves for the holiday recess without addressing the debt limit.”

Read more from Naomi here.


Treasury refrains from naming any currency manipulators

The Treasury Department did not name any major trading partners as a currency manipulator in its semiannual report on foreign exchange policies released Friday.

Treasury concluded that no major U.S. trading partners were manipulating exchange rates with the U.S. for purposes of gaining an unfair trade advantage. However, it said in the report that Vietnam and Taiwan continue to meet the criteria for an enhanced analysis.

Read more here.

Good to Know

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Green groups are spending big to promote climate policies, amid deliberations by lawmakers in the past several months on a major climate and social spending bill.

Here’s what else have our eye on:

A plumber found 500 envelopes full of cash and checks inside the bathroom of the Houston, Texas, church of celebrity pastor Joel Osteen.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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