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Job market shows strength

November payrolls come in stronger than forecasts, even as unemployment rises from five-year low.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Job growth showed surprising strength in November, according to a government report that also showed the unemployment rate edging higher from a five-year low.

Employers added 132,000 jobs to payrolls in November, according to the Labor Department, up from a revised gain of 79,000 in October. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a gain of 105,000 jobs.

But the unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent from 4.4 in October, in line with forecasts, as unemployed people who had stopped looking for work streamed back into the labor force.

Analysts said the report pointed to sustained economic growth, despite other recent signs of weakness in manufacturing, home building and some other parts of the economy.

The revision in the September and October payroll numbers resulted in a net gain of 42,000 for those months, as September was revised higher and October edged lower.

The report also showed a more modest-than-expected 0.2 percent rise in average hourly wages, down from the 0.4 percent rise in October. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise.

The increase to an average hourly wage of $16.94 an hour, up 4.1 percent compared to 12 months ago.

"In a sense, the robust employment growth sends a reassuring message that the economy is growing nicely without experiencing the negative side effects of runaway wage pressures," said Anthony Chan, chief economist for JPMorgan Private Client Services.

But stocks were little changed in early trading, as optimism about the jobs report was balanced by the dollar turning lower against the euro and yen.

Rich Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research, said the report showed strength but wasn't enough to change the thinking of the Federal Reserve about whether the economy was getting too hot and needed another interest rate increase to keep prices in check, or was slowing too much and needed rate cuts instead.

"It's really difficult to get spooked over 132,000 new jobs," he said. "It's not enough to change monetary policy or scare the financial markets."

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