The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% for November 2011, down from 9.2% in October, while total nonfarm payroll grew by 120,000 jobs, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Dec. 2.
The November jobless rate is the lowest since March 2009, when it was 8.5%. While the private sector added jobs in various service-providing industries, it is not enough to have a sustainable impact on economic growth, said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at the Conference Board. “Overall, the continued modest employment gains reflect an economy that plods along at an uninspiring pace,” she said. “These modest job gains are still not enough to propel economic growth to a sustainable [2 percent +] growth path.”
According to the bureau, employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November, with much of the increase occurring in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+27,000) and in electronics and appliance stores (+5,000). Retailers have added an average of 14,000 jobs per month since December 2009, BLS reported.
Employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 22,000 jobs in November, BLS said. Food services and drinking places added 33,000 jobs, offsetting a loss of 12,000 jobs in the accommodation industry. In the last 12 months, leisure and hospitality added 253,000 jobs.
Employment in professional and business services added 33,000 jobs in November. Meanwhile, the bureau said, modest job gains continued in temporary help services.
Health care employment grew in November by 17,000 jobs, with hospitals adding 9,000. During the past 12 months, BLS said, health care has added an average of 27,000 jobs per month.
Manufacturing employment changed little over the month and has held steady since July.
Government employment continued to decline in November, with a decrease in the U.S. Postal Service of 5,000 jobs. Employment in both state government and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008, according to the bureau.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men fell in November by 0.5 percentage point to 8.3%. And while the jobless rate for whites (7.6%) declined, those for adult women (7.8%), teenagers (23.7%), blacks (15.5%), and Hispanics (11.4%) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.5%, not seasonally adjusted. 12.02.2011.