The Line: Job Growth Disappoints, Jobless Claims Less than Expected
Updated: Dec 8, 2021
Gregory Heym is Chief Economist at Brown Harris Stevens. His weekly series, The Line, covers new developments to the economy, including trends and forecasts. Read on for the latest report and subscribe here to receive The Line in your inbox.
Job Growth Disappoints in November, with Just a 210,000 Gain
If it seems job growth these days is as erratic as the Knicks’ three-point shooting, it’s because it is. After a strong increase of 546,000 in October, only 210,000 jobs were added last month. November’s job growth was the lowest since the recovery began in May 2020. The Dow Jones estimate was for 573,000 new jobs, so this number really stinks.
What makes this report a real bummer is that:
There are 10.4 million job openings in the U.S.
A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September.
This data was collected before the rise of the Omicron variant.
There was some good news in the report, most notably the drop in the unemployment rate from 4.6% to 4.2%. Employment in September and October was revised upward by a total of 82,000 for what that’s worth. Perhaps the number to focus on here is that monthly job growth has averaged 555,000 this year, and employment is now just 2.6% below its pre-pandemic level.
Jobless Claims Less than Expected
We found out last week that initial claims for unemployment totaled 222,000 the week prior, less than the Dow Jones estimate of 240,000. While this figure rose from the over 50-year low of 199,000 the previous week, that figure was pushed downward by seasonal adjustments. The bottom line here is that layoffs have recovered from the record levels seen during the pandemic, but we’ll see what the new COVID variant does to employment over the next few weeks and months.