U.S. job growth slowed sharply in November, suggesting the labor-market recovery is losing steam amid a surge in coronavirus cases and new business restrictions.
Employers added 245,000 jobs last month, less than half the 610,000 jobs added in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate edged down slightly to 6.7% in November from 6.9% a month earlier.
November marked the seventh consecutive month of job gains at a steadily cooling pace. The labor market has now regained slightly more than half of the 22 million jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic.
Employers boosted jobs in the transportation and warehousing sectors last month, likely reflecting holiday hiring for e-commerce roles. Employment declined in government and in the retail category that includes bricks-and-mortar stores.
The U.S. economy overall has recovered much of the ground lost earlier this year, even though the expansion has slowed since the third quarter’s rapid rebound. U.S. consumers boosted their spending in October for the sixth straight month, and new applications for unemployment benefits—a proxy for layoffs—fell last week after a recent jump.