The United States' hiring numbers continued to slow last month, adding just 245,000 jobs and falling more than 200,000 short of what economists had predicted, according to CNN and the Associated Press. The lackluster number marks the fifth straight month of hiring slowdowns and is a significant drop from the 610,000 jobs added in October.
A long way to go to recovery:
Though experts say that another round of mass layoffs like the one experienced in the spring is unlikely, the trend in the data has many worried that the economy will get worse before it gets better. The US is still down almost 10 million jobs since February, with some saying that it could take another 40 months for the job market to fully recover from the pandemic.
While the unemployment rate slipped down to 6.7% from 6.9% in October, economists say this drop is partly due to more workers leaving the labor force in November.
According to the Labor Department report, the most significant gains happened in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and healthcare. Hardest hit was the retail sector which lost 35,000 jobs.
Congress continues to debate stimulus:
Adding to the significance of the underperforming jobs numbers is the fact that Congress has yet to agree to a new stimulus plan. Many of the safeguards of the CARES Act, which was passed in March, have already expired or are set to expire at the end of December.
A new $908 billion bill introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers was announced this week in an apparent bid to break the gridlock in Washington, but there is no guarantee that it will win the favor of enough representatives in either party.