State of the Facts
The unemployment rate was 6.7% in November, a slight decrease from 6.9% the previous month, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The month-over-month decrease was the smallest since the jobless rate peaked at 14.7% in April, and reflects stalled job growth as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
During November, 245,000 jobs were added to payrolls — less than half of October’s employment gains. Compared to February, employment was down by 9.8 million jobs or 6.5%.
The transportation and warehousing sector gained 145,000 jobs in November, while professional and business services gained 60,000 jobs, and health care added 46,000. Government employment fell by 99,000 jobs — mainly due to the conclusion of temporary Census work and losses in local education. The retail sector also showed a loss of 35,000 jobs as seasonal hiring fell for brick-and-mortar stores.
Compared to earlier months of the pandemic, the November jobs report shows an increase in long-lasting job loss. Last month, 10.7 million people were unemployed, up by 4.9 million compared to February. Among this group, the number of long-term unemployed – people who had been jobless for 27 weeks or more — rose by 385,000 during November to 3.9 million people, or 36.9% of the total unemployed population. For comparison, the long-term unemployed made up 19.2% of the total unemployed population in February.
In addition to reporting the total unemployed population — which counts people who are out of a job but are actively seeking work — the BLS also tracks the number of people who are not in the labor force but want a job. People are classified as not in the labor force if they are not employed and haven’t looked for work in the past month. In November, 7.1 million people not in the labor force reported wanting a job, an increase of 448,000 from the previous month and 2.2 million above the February total. This population is not included in the official unemployment rate.
For more data on the how the US is faring during the coronavirus pandemic, visit the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.
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