Hiring Freeze? Friday’s Disappointing November Job Report Shows A Long Winter Ahead Due To COVID.

A man pushes carts as a hiring sign shows at a Jewel Osco grocery store in Deerfield, Ill., Thursday, April 23, 2020. Friday, Dec. 4, monthly U.S. jobs report will help answer a key question hanging over the economy: Just how much damage is being caused by the resurgent coronavirus, the resulting restrictions on businesses and the reluctance of consumers to shop, travel and dine out? (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

With 10 million fewer jobs available in America than in February, there is ground to gain but the progress is slowing instead of pickup up.

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly job report showed that job gains decreased for the fifth consecutive month. Instead of hitting economist projections of 440,000 new jobs, about 245,000 were added in November as the holiday season did not supply the usual surge. There had been 610,00 added jobs in October.

The unemployment rate dropped from 6.9% to 6.7%, as federal relief programs for unemployed Americans are set to expire this month and Congress has been unable to agree on a new stimulus for struggling businesses and households.

About 4 million Americans have been unemployed for at least 25 weeks.

“Today’s report is a firm reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao told CNBC, forecasting 2024 for a return to pre-pandemic employment levels. “Even with a vaccine on the horizon, many are bracing for a long winter ahead.”

Beyond those who file for unemployment, the jobless percentage in America reached 12%.

“Overall, it is a disappointing report,” economists at Jefferies said in a note. “With COVID cases surging again and policies being put in place to try and slow the spread, hiring has slowed down. Also, worker availability is a significant limiting factor as well, with many unable to go to work due to COVID concerns or family care obligations.”

Only one major job sector has remained resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic: health care.

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