Unemployment Rate Drops Further to 4.2%


The labor market continued its steady recovery, although November jobs creation was less than half of the prior month. With another 210,000 new jobs created, the pace for November was slower than in the previous two months, which added another combined 82,000 jobs, based on late reporting.


Jobs growth continued in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction and manufacturing, while the retail sector reported fewer jobs than in the previous month.


The unemployment rate continued to drop, registering a 0.4 percentage point drop in November to 4.2%.


Maintaining the positive trend set over the past eight months, average hourly wages again rose in November. Over the past 12 months, wages have increased by 4.8%.


The average work week increased to 34.8 hours.


Recording relatively flat performance in November, the temporary labor sector gained 6,200 new jobs.


Due to far lower jobs creation than anticipated in the past month, many view the November report as negative. However, improvement in both the unemployment rate and the labor participation rate points to underlying strengths that will lift the economy over time. In pre-pandemic days, 210,000 new jobs in a single month would qualify as good news. With so many expansion plans put on hold during the pandemic, however, the market has seen a great deal of pent-up demand for hiring in 2021. That heightened competition for talent has exacerbated recruitment challenges for most employers, actually restraining their ability to fill open jobs.

The search for solutions to the talent crunch has led to a greater willingness on the part of employers to explore new strategic workforce solutions that include higher reliance on contingent talent and new interest in direct sourcing and referral programs. It has led to innovations in mobile engagement, enhanced candidate experience and employer branding, as well as exploration of recruitment process outsourcing and total talent management solutions.  

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Steinberg Employment Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, CNBC, CBS, FOX, Bloomberg, Business Insider