US Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs in November, Missing Economists’ Projections by a Wide Margin

by Alex Tostado

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected the total jobs added to reach 469,000. The unemployment rate dipped 20 basis points from October to 6.7 percent. The most recent figure marks the seventh consecutive month of job growth following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the BLS, outside factors such as surging coronavirus cases, new restrictions in some states and an unapproved stimulus package slowed growth for the month. Job growth was also stunted in part due to the lack of retail hiring ahead of the holiday season. Employment in the retail sector fell by 35,000 jobs, led by decreases in general merchandise stores (-21,000); and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-12,000).

Notable job gains occurred in the transportation and warehousing sector, which added 145,000 jobs in November. The figure is still 123,000 jobs below its February level.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 60,000 jobs. Employment in the sector is struggling to return to pre-pandemic norms as it is still 1.1 million jobs behind its February level.

The healthcare industry added 46,000 jobs, while the construction sector gained 27,000.

Government employment fell for the third straight month, dipping in November by 99,000 jobs. The bulk of the jobs (93,000) lost were from temporary workers who had been hired for the 2020 Census.

The average hourly wages in November increased 9 cents to $29.58 per hour. The average work week remained unchanged from October at 34.8 hours.

The BLS revised the September gains up by 39,000 to 711,000 for the month. October gains were revised down by 28,000 to 610,000.

— Alex Tostado

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