I suppose we were spoiled with last month’s BLS Employment Situation Report, which revealed better-than-anticipated job growth in October and, perhaps, gave us hope that we could expect a similar outcome in November. I mean, is triple-digit job growth two months in a row really too much to ask?
Apparently it is. If you haven’t yet seen today’s release of November’s job numbers, let me save you the trouble: They suck.
Okay, maybe they don’t suck suck (remember this time two years ago? Those numbers sucked…), but the economy definitely lost momentum in the past month. By a lot. After adding a whopping 172,000 jobs in October, the economy only added a fraction of that number in November: 39,000 new jobs, to be exact.
Not only did this figure fall short of the 150,000 added jobs economists predicted, but it also fell short of the 120,000 jobs needed to keep the unemployment rate steady, which explains why it rose to 9.8 percent (up from 9.6 percent in October).
Some more findings from the report:
- Private employers added 50,000 jobs, the smallest gain since January.
- 15.1 million people were out of work in November
- The number of underemployed (people working part-time who would prefer full-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work) was 17 percent.
- Job losses included retailers with 28,100 job cuts; factories with 13,000; financial firms with 9,000; and construction companies with 5,000. The public sector eliminated 11,000 positions, mostly reflecting cuts from local governments.
Just because the economy lost momentum doesn’t mean you should, too…
While this month’s report is certainly disappointing, keep in mind that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, and that job growth typically slows in November. What’s more, financial research firm Baird released a statement today indicating confidence that these numbers would be revised and that findings from other reports “point to an improvement in the macro economy and in employment.”
In other words: don’t let these findings slow your job search momentum. Stay focused on improving your skills, marketing yourself, and keep a particular eye on the industries and companies that are actively hiring.
The best chances for employment are in the health care industry, which added 19,000 jobs last month, and the mining sector, which added 6,000 jobs. In addition to these industries, job seekers looking for full-time work should consider applying for temporary jobs, of which the economy added 40,000 in November, and which can also often lead to full-time positions.
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