United States: Labor market improves at a more moderate pace in November
Total non-farm payrolls rose 245,000 in November, but missed market analysts’ expectations of a 469,000 increase. This follows October’s 610,000 payroll rise. Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, and education and health sectors increased, reflecting the gradual resumption of normal economic operating conditions in most parts of the country.
The unemployment rate decreased to 6.7% in November from 6.9% in October, while the labor force participation rate ticked down slightly to 61.5% in November from 61.7% in October. Hourly earnings increased 0.3% month-on-month in November (October: +0.1% mom), while annual wage growth was stable at October’s 4.4% in November.
Commenting on November’s jobs report and the short-term outlook on the labor market, Katherine Judge, a senior economist at CIBC Economics, noted:
“The US labor market had been resilient up to this point, but there are signs that the winter months could see a more marked deterioration in activity as a result of the virus, as activity is curtailed voluntarily and through government mandates. This suggests that fiscal policymakers will have to act relatively swiftly to extend support to businesses and consumers, as those in the most impacted lower-paying industries have the least to fall back on.”