Job Market Shows Signs of Slowing in November
US Economy Only Adds 210,000 Jobs in November
The job market showed signs of slowing in November with the US adding 210,000 jobs—well below economists’ forecasts. The slowdown is coming after a strong October in which the economy added 546,000 more positions. The November jobs report indicates that job growth was beginning to slow even before the Omicron variant of COVID-19 began spreading. Job recovery could be hurt even more if the number of COVID-19 cases rises again.
Despite the slower pace of hiring, the unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in November and average wages increased 4.8%. Meanwhile, initial unemployment claims for the week earlier fell to a more than 50 year low.
Retail Sector Takes a Hit
The retail-sector job market was battered during November, with the industry losing 20,000 jobs. Losses were concentrated in general merchandise, clothing, and sporting goods. Food and beverage and home improvement stores added workers during the month. The transportation and warehousing sectors added 50,000 jobs while professional and business services hired 90,000 people.
Leisure and hospitality, which had driven a lot of the job growth in recent months, added only 23,000 new workers in November. The unemployment rate for that industry stands at around 7.5%.
Omicron Creates Uncertainty
Despite the fact that the economy is regaining strength overall, uncertainty is growing as Omicron cases begin to surface in the US. After all, the Delta variant of COVID-19 derailed recovery for the job market earlier this year. How easily the new variant spreads and the effectiveness of vaccines will play a role in job growth in the coming weeks and months. Another surge could weaken the economy and the jobs market.
The jobs market is still recovering, but Omicron threatens to derail that. It will take a few more weeks to see if it has a lasting impact on a job market that was just coming back to life.
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