Sunday 24th of January 2021

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Report: Fewer American Jobs Shed in November

Fewer than a tenth of the jobs expected to be cut by American employers last month actually were eliminated, building the case for those observers who say the recovery is picking up speed.

November ended with 11,000 fewer positions than when it began, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Investors had been getting ready to react to news that 130,000 jobs had gone away. Making the news even better was the job losses reported for September and October were revised downward by 159,000.

Government data also showed November’s unemployment rate had dropped an unexpected 0.2 percent to 10 percent.

The factory orders report for October also was better than expected. There was a 0.6 percent gain while inventories had their first increase in more than a year.

Traders at the exchanges interpreted the good employment news as a sign the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates sooner than previously thought when its board meets in mid-December. That helped spark the dollar value to its biggest gain in about a year while bringing down the prices on government debt.

Interest rates were trimmed to nearly zero a year ago by the Fed, which also poured $1 trillion into the economy as a way to spark an economy that has been the worst since the Depression 70 years ago.

Helping the November numbers of fewer positions being eliminated was the addition of positions. Numbers increased in education, health services, professional services and the federal government, which was its second such monthly gain in a row.

The service-providing sector ended the month with 58,000 more workers, up from the 2,000 jobs added in October. In the sector that produces goods, the rate of job losses decreased.

After falling by 51,000 positions in October, payrolls in manufacturing dipped 41,000. After an average monthly drop of 63,000 jobs in the previous six months, construction sector lost only 27,000 jobs.

Temporary hiring is increasing and the length of the average workweek is up, giving the hint that companies soon may hire permanent workers.

November’s overall data was the best since December 2007, when non-farm payrolls jumped 120,000. The pace of layoffs has decreased since the start of 2009. Still, 7.2 million jobs have disappeared since the recession started.

There is still reason to be cautious as about 5.9 million people in the United States last month passed at least the six-month mark for having no jobs. That’s more than a third of those who are unemployed. Also, the average time for being unemployed reached a record 28.5 weeks.

Economists have been concerned the limping labor market would prevent any recovery from becoming self-sustaining.