The United States economy’s recovery effort slowed some in November, as the Labor Department’s jobs report revealed that 245,000 jobs were added last month.
November marked the fifth month in a row that the pace of hiring has tapered off, but the unemployment rate has now dropped to 6.7% after reaching a high of 19.2% in April. October’s jobs figure was revised downward from 638,000 to 610,000.
November’s job totals were dragged down for various reasons, one of them being the loss of 93,000 temporary census workers who are no longer needed with counting winding down. There are roughly 10 million more people out of work than there were in February and many in that group are weeks away from losing their additional unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
This comes at a time when coronavirus infections are reaching all-time highs across the country and hospitalizations are up. This has inevitably led to more state restrictions on businesses, which could further stymie recovery efforts.
“We’re in an unusual position right now in the economy,” Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at the accounting firm Evercore ISI, told The New York Times. “Far off in the distance there is sunlight” because of progress on a vaccine, he said, but until then, “we’re going to have a few of the toughest months of this pandemic, and there will be a lot of scars left to heal.”
The most job gains came from transportation and warehousing, which rose by 145,000 thanks to a jump in couriers and messengers as well as warehousing and storage.
Professional and business services added 60,000 and health care was up 46,000. The hospitality industry, which has taken the worst of the job losses during the pandemic, increased just 31,000, while retail lost 35,000 jobs, a potentially troubling sign heading into the holiday shopping season.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.