Payrolls grew and the unemployment rate slipped in November as labor conditions continue to recover in the United States.
The payroll gain was the smallest in six months, however, a slowing in hiring attributed in part to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 245,000 and the jobless rate edged down two-tenths of a point to 6.7 percent, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Initial estimates for payroll gains were revised downward 28,000 to 610,000 in October, but revised upward 39,000 to 711,000 in September.
Payrolls have increased in each of the last seven months, but employment remains 9.8 million below February and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. The jobless rate has dropped eight points since April, but remains 3.2 points higher than February.
For November, 10.7 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Another 6.7 million were counted among those working part-time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.
The labor participation rate retreated two-tenths of a point to 61.5 percent. That’s 1.9 points below February.
Payroll gains in November were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Employment increased 145,000 in transportation and warehousing, 60,000 in business and professional services, 46,000 in health care and 27,000 in construction.
Government payrolls declined 99,000 for a third straight month of losses.
The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.8 hours The average manufacturing workweek shortened two-tenths of an hour to 40.3 hours. Average hourly wages on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 9 cents to $29.58.