Recovery Slows as Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, far below economists’ expectations, while unemployment fell to 6.7%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 245,000 last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed Americans fell by 400,000 to 10.7 million. The U.S. added 638,000 jobs in October as the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9%.

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“As infection rates go down, as the number of people vaccinated goes up, then we’ll start to see … business activity expand at a faster rate, and we will see the employment numbers pick up more strongly,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. chief economist David Berson told The Wall Street Journal.

Economists had projected 440,000 Americans to be added to payrolls in November and the unemployment rate to drop to 6.7%, the Journal reported. In August, the unemployment rate fell below 10% for the first time since April, when the rate reached 14.7%.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt businesses nationwide, the U.S. economy grew by a record 33.1% in the third quarter as businesses started opening up again, according to a Commerce Department report released Oct. 29.

Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have steadily increased in the United States since mid-October, according to The COVID Tracking Project. The U.S. government Thursday reported 2,706 new coronavirus-related deaths and 210,161 new cases, with 100,667 Americans hospitalized.

The stock market has surged since Joe Biden was declared the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election by major media organizations, including The Associated Press and Fox News.

Analysts said the market’s performance is due to positive results in large-scale human trials for vaccine candidates as well as Biden’s announcement that he would appoint former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department.

There is also renewed hope that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will push for a new COVID-19 relief package before the end of the year, according to CNBC. McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., resumed negotiations Thursday.

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