November Jobs Report: A Mixed Picture on Hiring
November has delivered moderate job gains of 210,000, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation
and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing. Employment in retail trade declined.
Major Takeaways from the Jobs Report
The November jobs report presented a mixed picture of the economic recovery:
- Hiring was at its slowest in recent months
- Some sectors (like transportation) have exceeded their pre-pandemic levels while most are still below
- Economists’ expectations were at half a million jobs and this report fell short
- This data was collected before the emergence of the omnicron variant of the Coronavirus, complicating the picture for future economic recovery
- Inflation continues to surge, complicating matters for policy makers
Good Gains in Professional Services
90,000 jobs were added to the professional and business services category in November. These gains were concentrated in the following areas:
- Administrative and waste services (+42,000 jobs)
- Management and technical consulting services (+12,000)
- Computer system design and related services (+10,000).
- Temporary help services (+6,000)
Transportation Job Gains
As supply chain issues proliferate, so too does a gain in hiring in transportation and warehousing. This sector added 50,000 jobs, and is 210,000 jobs above its February 2020 level.
Construction employment also booming
Following two solid months of jobs gains, construction employment rose by 31,000 in November. These gains were seen in:
- Specialty trade contractors (+13,000)
- Construction of buildings (+10,000)
- Heavy and civil engineering construction (+8,000)
Smaller Gains in Manufacturing
Manufacturing added 31,000 jobs in November. Job gains occurred in miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing (+10,000) and fabricated metal products (+8,000), while motor vehicles and parts lost jobs (-10,000). Employment in machinery declined by 6,000, largely reflecting a strike. Manufacturing employment has taken a real hit during the pandemic, it is down by 253,000 since February 2020.
Financial Services Positions Abound
Employment in financial activities continued to trend up in November (+13,000) and is 30,000 above its February 2020 level. Major job growth occurred in securities, commodity contracts, and investments in November (+9,000).
Retail was a rough spot in November. Employment in retail trade declined by 20,000 in November, with job losses concentrated in the following areas:
- General merchandise stores (-20,000)
- Clothing and clothing accessories stores (-18,000)
- Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000)
These losses were partially offset by job gains in food and beverage stores (+9,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+7,000). Retail trade employment is 176,000 lower than in February 2020.
Leisure & Hospitality Holding Steady
Employment in leisure and hospitality rose slightly in November (+23,000), following large gains earlier in the year. Leisure and hospitality has added 2.4 million jobs thus far in 2021, but employment in the industry is still down markedly from its pre-pandemic levels: lower by 1.3 million jobs, or 7.9 percent, since February 2020.