U.S. Adds Disappointing 210,000 Jobs In November

U.S. Adds Disappointing 210,000 Jobs In November

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
December 3, 2021

The U.S economy added just 210,000 jobs in November, marking the slowest job growth of 2021 and more than underperforming economists' expectations, according to Friday's data released by the Labor Department.

Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had expected a far higher gain of 550,000 jobs for the month of November following October's upwardly revised number of 546,000 and September's upwardly revised 379,000. There are still about 3.9 million fewer jobs than there were in February 2020 before the pandemic induced lockdowns and destroyed the economy.

Revisions in the August, September, and October jobs reports have raised employment numbers by a total of 450,000.

Despite November's worse-than-expected jobs report, the unemployment rate for the month dropped more than anticipated. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percent to 4.2 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in October and 3.5 percent in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns.

Real average wages surged 4.8 percent from the same time last year

The labor force participation rate edged up to 61.8 percent in November, up 0.2 percent from last month's 61.6 percent. The participation rate is 1.5 percentage points lower than in February 2020.

Job gains have averaged 555,000 a month so far in 2021.

Leisure and hospitality industries, which had seen some of the biggest and significant job gains in recent months, added only just 23,000 jobs in November. This comes in stark contrast that saw gains reported with last month's increase of 170,000 payrolls the retail sector attracted and 108,000 in September. The sector, which includes food, bars, restaurants, and hotels, recovered about 7 million of the jobs it lost during the pandemic but remains about 1.3 million below its February 2020 level.

Retail was also another biggest disappointment in the November report as this sector often sees an uptick in hiring in the two months leading up to the holiday season. The industry posted a net loss of more than 20,000 jobs in November, with notable losses at clothing stores — a decline of 17,700 and department stores seeing a drop of 7,500.

Friday's jobs report comes after Thursday's weekly unemployment insurance claims that showed Americans seeking jobless benefits last week shot back rose to 222,000, up 28,000 from the prior week's revised level of 194,000.

S&P 500 futures rose about 0.5 percent on the news. President Biden will address the new numbers in a press conference later Friday morning.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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