The US economy added 245,000 jobs during November.
According to reporting from AP News, Friday’s report from the Labor Department said that America’s employers sharply scaled back their hiring last month, adding 245,000 jobs, the fewest since April and the fifth straight monthly slowdown while the viral pandemic accelerating across the country.
At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to a still-high 6.7%, from 6.9% in October as many people stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed. November’s job gain was down drastically from a 610,000 gain in October.
Through all of this, experts say the economy and job market won’t be able to fully recover until the virus can be controlled with an effective and widely used vaccine. And the picture could worsen before it improves.
AP writes that the jobs slowdown comes at a particularly fraught time. Two enhanced federal unemployment benefit programs are set to expire at the end of this month — just as viral cases are surging and colder weather is shutting down outdoor dining and many public events. Unless Congress enacts another rescue aid package, more than 9 million unemployed people will be left without any jobless aid, state or federal, beginning after Christmas.
“The recovery is not insulated from the effects of the pandemic,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at employment website Glassdoor. “This is the calm before the storm. We face a long and difficult winter ahead.” Speaking at a news conference Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden said the jobs report was “grim” and “shows an economy that is stalling.” Biden urged Congress to act quickly to approve another rescue aid package.