Hiring continues in the United States, but at a slower pace in November that was less than half the average monthly gain this year.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 210,000 and the unemployment rate decreased four-tenths of a point to 4.2 percent, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The employment gain was less than what economists forecast as well as the average monthly increase of 555,000 so far this year.
Estimated payroll gains for the two past months were revised upward a total of 82,000 to 546,000 for October and 379,000 for September.
Employment has increased 18.5 million since April 2020, but remains 3.9 million lower than February 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
For November, 6.9 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 2.2 million have been out of work 27 weeks or longer.
Another 4.3 million were counted among those working part-time because their hours were reduced or they were unable to find full-time positions.
The labor force participation rate rose two-tenths of a point to 61.8 percent.
Payroll gains were spread among a number of industry sectors. Employment increased 90,000 in professional and business services, 50,000 in transportation and warehousing and 31,000 in both construction and manufacturing.
Employment decreased 20,000 in retail trades.
The average workweek lengthened a tenth of an hour to 34.8 hours. The average manufacturing workweek also edged up a tenth of an hour to 40.4 hours.
Average hourly earnings rose 8 cents to $31.03. Over the past year, earnings have increased 4.8 percent.