Job growth in the U.S. slows slightly with November gains of just 245,000 jobs
Total non farm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. However, the pace of improvement in the labor market has moderated in recent months. In November, notable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care. Employment declined in government and retail trade.
In November, the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent. The rate is down by 8.0 percentage points from its recent high in April but is 3.2 percentage points higher than it was in February. The number of unemployed persons, at 10.7 million, continued to trend down in November but is 4.9 million higher than in February. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (6.1 percent) declined in November. The jobless rates for adult men (6.7 percent), teenagers (14.0 percent), Whites (5.9 percent), Blacks (10.3 percent), Asians (6.7 percent), and Hispanics (8.4 percent) showed little or no change.
Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 441,000 in November to 2.8 million. This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.1 million in April but is 2.0 million higher than its February level. The number of permanent job losers, at 3.7 million, was about unchanged in November but is 2.5 million higher than in February.
Staffing Industry Analyst reported that the US economy continues to add a large number of jobs each month, and the unemployment rate continues to decline substantially. However, the labor force has only recovered 54% of losses from February (pre-COVID) to April (COVID trough). Adding the unrecovered losses in the labor force from February to April to the unemployed portion of the labor force would yield an unemployment rate of 9.0%.
This month’s jobs report was highly favorable for Temporary Help, as it had the highest percentage gain of all 15 industry groups for the month. However, the industry has only recovered 62% of the losses from February to April (and even in February 2020 there were 55,000 fewer jobs in Temporary Help compared to the April 2018 peak). Long-term, the more challenging part of the recovery will likely come from building back the labor force while reducing the large number of unemployed describing themselves as “permanent job losers.” (SIA)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR STAFFING?
While the Great Rehire is alive and well as we continue to see companies plan to staff up in Q1 2021, the increasing impact of COVID-19 in November is reflected in the permanent positions added to the workplace. However, temporary positions increased greatly, showing companies’ cautious optimism to staff up in the coming months.