U.S. Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 210,000 in November, Unemployment Declines to 4.2%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today (12-3-21) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 210,000 in November. This growth follows increases of 531,000 in October, 194,000 in September, 235,000 in August, 1.1 million in July, and 962,000 in June. Nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 18.5 million since April 2020 but is down by -3.9 million, or -2.6%, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

In November, notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing. Employment in retail trade declined over the month.

The unemployment rate fell by -0.4 percentage points to 4.2%. The number of unemployed persons fell by -542,000 to 6.9 million. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).

Construction employment rose by 31,000 in November, following gains of a similar magnitude in the prior 2 months. Employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contractors (+13,000), construction of buildings (+10,000), and heavy and civil engineering construction (+8,000). Construction employment is 115,000 below its February 2020 level.

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