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November Job Growth Falls Short of Expectations as COVID-19 Cases Increase

  • Job growth in November fall well short of expectations
  • A total of 245,000 positions added, versus 440,000 anticipated by Dow Jones economists
  • Unemployment rate falls to 6.7 percent

The United States economy added 245,000 non-farm jobs in November, falling well short of the 440,000 figure anticipated by Down Jones economists. The latest data from the Department of Labor marks the fifth month where the pacing of job creation has slowed, raising concerns that the slowing recovery could lead to flat or negative job growth in the near future.

Transportation and warehousing accounted for much of the job growth, adding 145,000 positions. Another 60,000 positions were added in professional and business services, while health care contributed another 45,000 jobs.

Government jobs continued to fall, driven primarily by the termination of temporary Census Bureau work, and were down 99,000 in November. Retail shed 35,000 positions.

The number of jobs added in November was down sharply from October’s downwardly revised figure of 610,000. The unemployment rate continued to fall, dropping from 6.9 percent in October to 6.7 percent.

The slowing economic recovery comes as COVID-19 cases hit record levels in the U.S. and as the economy has recovered just 12.3 million of the 22 million jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic. At the current pace, employment would not be restored to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

The trend has raised concerns among economists that job growth may be flat or even negative in the last months of 2020 and early 2021. However, there are also expectations for a more rapid recovery by next summer as COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed.




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