November unemployment rate falls to 4.2%, job creation below predictions

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Published Friday, December 3, 2021
by Casey Harper | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - The newly released November jobs report fell short of expectations Friday despite a drop in unemployment.

The Department of Labor released the report showing that the economy created 210,000 nonfarm jobs in November, dropping unemployment to 4.2%. Those figures, though, came well under experts' predictions of 573,000 new jobs for the month.

"The number of unemployed persons fell by 542,000 to 6.9 million," said the DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics. "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% and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020)."

The number of Americans entering the workforce increased as well.

"The labor force participation rate edged up to 61.8% in November," BLS said. "The participation rate is 1.5 percentage points lower than in February 2020. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 percentage point to 59.2% in November. This measure is up from its low of 51.3% in April 2020 but remains below the figure of 61.1% in February 2020."

Republicans laid the blame for the lackluster job creation at the feet of President Joe Biden and argued the economy cannot handle the administration's proposed federal debt spending through the "Build Back Better" plan.

"This is a miserable jobs report, there's no spinning it any other way," said U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who is the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. "And due to his mishandling of the economy, President Biden is nearly one million jobs short of his promises from his last $2 trillion spending binge. The Senate ought to suspend any consideration of the $5 trillion Build Back Better bill until the President demonstrates he can heal this economy, lower inflation, and get Americans back to work."

Biden has defended his work on the economy and pointed to the job recoveries since the worst of COVID.

The report comes after promising unemployment data from last week gave hope that the economy was fully rebounding from COVID. Friday's report, though, leaves it unclear how job growth will fare going forward and continues a trend of up and down job and unemployment reports.

"During a time when we should be seeing a surge in seasonal hiring, today's jobs report was yet another massive miss," House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wrote on Twitter. 

Several sectors did see job growth, according to Friday's report.

"Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing," BLS said. "Employment in retail trade declined over the month. Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers declined by 205,000 to 1.9 million in November but is 623,000 higher than in February 2020. The number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 255,000 to 801,000 in November. This measure is down from the high of 18.0 million in April 2020 and has nearly returned to its February 2020 level of 750,000."

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