November Job Numbers Fall Short of Expectations

December 4, 2020

The U.S. economy added just 245,000 jobs in November, far fewer than the 440,000 Wall Street had been expecting. It also marks a significant slowdown from October’s 610,000.

The unemployment rate met expectations, falling to 6.7% from 6.9% in October, though some of that decline may be caused by a drop in the labor force participation rate, which fell to 61.5%.

The bulk of the gains came from warehouse and transportation jobs, which grew by 145,000. Many analysts attribute this to the growing popularity of online shopping, as wary customers opt to avoid malls and retail stores amid a spike in coronavirus cases. That may account for the loss of 35,000 retail jobs for the month, a potentially worrying sign as we head into the holiday shopping season.

The stalling momentum of the labor market’s recovery has some worried about the larger economic recovery. An economist from the job site Glassdoor who spoke to CNBC said that if the labor market maintains the pace it had in November, the economy would not return to pre-pandemic employment levels until 2024.

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