The official jobs report for November was released today and to the surprise of many, 321,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy. In addition, the BLS reported that an additional 44,000 jobs were created in September and October than previously reported. Together, these numbers show that more jobs were added so far in 2014 than in any year since 1999.
The strong jobs report follows on the heels of an announcement last week by the Commerce Department that the economy grew at a 3.9 percent in the third quarter, one of the strongest quarterly growths in decades. With these strong numbers and the stock market at record levels, it debunks Republican claims that Obama’s management of the economy has been a dismal failure.
Even with the 321,000 new jobs in November, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent. The number of unemployed persons held steady at 9.1 million. The number of discouraged workers remained at 698,000 and 2.8 million out of the 9.1 million unemployed have been unemployed for over 27 weeks. These numbers have not changed in the last year showing an uneven recovery.
Most of the new jobs in November were added in the private sector. However, the public sector added 7,000 jobs last month. November was one of the first months since 2011 that saw an increase in employment by the federal government which added 5,000 of the 7,000 net public sector jobs.
The largest gains were in professional and business services which added 86,000 jobs in November. This compares with an average gain of 57,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Within the industry, temporary help services added 23,000 workers. This is often an indicator of future employment. Another indicator of future jobs was the gain of 5,000 in architectural and engineering services. This means that new projects are on the drawing board which will result in future construction jobs.
Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November, compared with an average gain of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Job gains occurred in motor vehicle and parts dealers and other retail sectors showing consumers are spending again. Recent polls indicate that consumer confidence in the economy is low, but realty shows consumers are voting with their dollars.
Health care added 29,000 jobs over the month. Employment continued to trend up in offices of physicians, which added 7,000 jobs. In addition, home health care services, outpatient care centers and hospitals added 22,000 workers. Over the past 12 months, employment in health care has increased by 261,000. Once again, the data debunks repeated claims by Republican politicians and news commentators that Obamacare is killing jobs and putting Doctors out of business.
A real bright spot in the report was that in November, manufacturing added 28,000 jobs. Durable goods manufacturers accounted for 17,000 of the increase. This is also a sign of future job growth. Over the year, manufacturing has added 171,000 jobs, largely in durable goods following decades of decline due to offshoring of jobs.
Financial activities added 20,000 jobs, with half of the gain in insurance carriers and related activities. Employment in the transportation and warehousing sector increased by 17,000 in November. This included a gain in couriers and messengers. Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in November with 27,000 new jobs. This sector has increased by 321,000 over the year.
Construction employment also continued to trend up adding 20,000 new workers. Employment in specialty trade contractors rose by 21,000, mostly in the residential component. Over the past 12 months, construction has added 213,000 jobs.
Even though this news is very encouraging, President Obama said on Friday morning at a press conference at the White House it is important to reflect on how the economy is recovering from the worst recession since the Depression. However, he said, more needs to be done to add higher paying jobs. He said that we need to invest in infrastructure and growing exports.
Congress could make things better if it passed a bill to re-build our crumbling infrastructure. With Republicans majorities the highest since the roaring twenties, it is unlikely that any investment in infrastructure or roads will happen.
Nevertheless, the holidays will be happier for 321,000 persons this year because they have jobs.
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