US stocks moved higher on Friday, led by gains in Energy, following the news on Thursday that OPEC will continue with its output cuts. Nearly all sectos in the S&P 500 index were higher, led by Energy and Materials, the Utility sector bucked the trend. Yields gained traction helping to buoy the financial sector but weighed on the Utility space. U.S. non-farm payrolls came weaker than expected on Friday,while the Trade deficit widened.
Jobs Data Disappoints
U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 245,000, much less than expected. Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 145,000 in November. Most of the losses came in the retail space, which decreased by 35,000. Leisure and hospitality gained 31,000 but is still 3.4 million below February’s level. Health care added 46,000 jobs, and government payrolls declined by 99,000. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% from 6.9% in November.
Unfortunately, the decline in the unemployment rate came as the participation rate slipped. The labor force participation rate edged down to 61.5 percent in November. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 9 cents to $29.58. The average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.8 hours in November.
US Trade Deficit Widened
The U.S. trade deficit widened 1.7% in October to $63.1 billion. Exports rose 2.2% to $182 billion, led by sales of aircraft engines. Imports increased 2.1% to $245.1 billion on an uptick in shipments of auto parts. The deficit in the trade of goods with China rose 9% to $26.5 billion and the gap with Mexico rose 10% to $11.8 billion. So far this year, the overall gap in the trade of goods and services with the rest of the world has risen to $536.7 billion, up 9.5% from January-October 2019