US job gains stall in November as Covid-19 cases surge

In this file photo taken September 22, 2020, Allied Pilots Association President Eric Ferguson joins airline executives, fellow union heads and political leaders to call on Congress to pass an extension of the Payroll Support Program to save thousands of jobs, during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. — Chip Somodevilla /Getty Images North America  pic via AFP
In this file photo taken September 22, 2020, Allied Pilots Association President Eric Ferguson joins airline executives, fellow union heads and political leaders to call on Congress to pass an extension of the Payroll Support Program to save thousands of jobs, during a news conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. — Chip Somodevilla /Getty Images North America pic via AFP
WASHINGTON, Dec 4 — The US economy showed more signs the recovery is stalling as Covid-19 cases surge and more businesses are forced to close, adding a disappointing 245,000 new jobs in November, the government reported today.

And while the Labor Department data showed the unemployment rate dipped to 6.7 from 6.9 per cent, the lowest since the pandemic struck, 10.7 million workers remain unemployed.

The ranks of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — increased by 385,000 to 3.9 million, and more Americans left the workforce entirely, the report said, as the participation rate dipped two-tenths to 61.5 per cent.

The consensus estimate was for a gain of 650,000 positions last month, but many economists warned the result could come in much lower, given signs hiring had slowed last month as the coronavirus returned with a vengeance.

That was reflected in the loss of nearly 35,000 retail jobs last month.

And as mostly lower wage positions fall victim to the pandemic, average hourly earnings rose slightly to US$29.58 (RM120), according to the report.

Government employment fell by 99,000, largely due to layoffs of temporary census workers, while private rose by 344,000, the report said.

The number of temporary layoffs dropped by 441,000 to 2.8 million, but that is 2.0 million higher than the pre-pandemic level. — AFP

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