U.S. job growth slows; unemployment rate plunges to 4.2% - Reuters
Dec 03, 2021 1 min, 18 secs
employment growth slowed considerably in November amid job losses at retailers and in local government education, but the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2%, suggesting the labor market was rapidly tightening.

The four-tenths-of-a-percentage-point drop in the jobless rate from October reported by the Labor Department in its closely watched employment report on Friday occurred even as 594,000 people entered the labor force, the most in 13 months.

"Don't be fooled by the measly payroll jobs gain this month because the economy's engines are actually in overdrive as shown by the plunge in joblessness," said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York.

That left employment 3.9 million jobs below the peak in February 2020.

Despite November's slowdown in hiring, which also reflected a small gain in the leisure and hospitality industry, 6.1 million jobs have been added this year.

State and local government education employment fell by 12,600 jobs.

That led to a drop of 25,000 in overall government jobs, the fourth straight monthly decrease.

Pandemic-related staffing fluctuations have distorted normal seasonal patterns in state and local government education.

The leisure and hospitality sector added only 23,000 jobs compared to 170,000 in the previous month.

While labor supply remains tight, there are signs that some of the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic-induced recession are wading back into the labor force.

The smaller survey of households, from which the unemployment rate is derived, showed the labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, was 61.8%.

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