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Jobs Growth Decelerates in November, with 210,000 Positions Added

  • U.S. economy adds 210,000 jobs in November, well below forecasts
  • Business and professional services lead job gains, while transportation and warehousing and financial activities exceed pre-pandemic workforce levels
  • National unemployment rate falls 0.4 points to 4.2 percent

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Jobs growth continued in November, though at a weaker pace than anticipated. Some industries have exceeded their pre-pandemic workforces, while growth has moderated in others.

The total number of nonfarm payrolls grew by 210,000 during the month, following upwardly revised gains of 546,000 in October and 379,000 in September. The United States economy has gained 18.5 million jobs since April 2020, representing the nadir of job losses at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still down 3.9 million – 2.6 percent – compared to February 2020.

The growth fell considerably below the figure anticipated by economists, who expected gains above 500,000. It was also well below the figure reported by ADP’s monthly report on private sector payrolls, which tallied 534,000 new positions during November.

  • Professional and business services had the strongest gains, with 90,000 new jobs; the sector is down just 69,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels
  • Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 positions and its payrolls have swollen by 210,000 compared to February 2020; financial activities was also above pre-pandemic levels, by 30,000 jobs after adding 13,000 positions in November
  • The construction and manufacturing sectors each added 31,000 jobs
  • Leisure and hospitality, which led job growth for several months earlier this year, added just 23,000 jobs; the sector is down 7.9 percent, or 1.3 million jobs, from before the pandemic
  • Retail jobs were down by 20,000, with the steepest losses in general merchandise as well as clothing and clothing accessories stores
  • Several industries had flat job growth, including health care, wholesale trade, information, and public and private education
  • Average hourly earnings for November stood at $31.03, up 8 cents from October and up 4.8 percent from the previous year; the average work week was 34.8 hours
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.4 points to 4.2 percent, while the number of unemployed peopled dropped 542,000 to 6.9 million; these figures were still above the February 2020 figures of 5.7 million unemployed and an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent
  • Among those not counted as unemployed, another 5.9 million were not in labor force but wanted a job while 4.3 million were working part-time but would prefer a full-time position

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