More jobs were created last month, but labor force participation was down.
By Zee Johnson
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its Employment Situation Summary which confirmed that the U.S. added 263,000 jobs in November, supporting a virtually unchanged unemployment rate of 3.7%. Since March, the unemployment rate has remained steady between 3.5 and 3.7%.
The industries that saw the most job gains were leisure and hospitality (+88,000), healthcare (+45,000), and government (+32,000).
And though the leisure and hospitality sector had the most additions of any industry, adding an average of 82,000 jobs per month this year so far, that rate is still less than half the average gain in 2021 of 1960,000 jobs per month. This is also 5.8% (980,000) lower than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.
While employment increased in the above sectors, in other industries like retail trade (-30,000), and transportation and warehousing (-15,000), declines were recorded.
The report revealed another slight decline—from labor force participation—which fell to 62.1%, the third consecutive drop. American Staffing Association President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Wahlquist says that the decline along with the number of jobs added in November is making the search for key talent even harder. “The labor market remains tight as employers continue to search for qualified workers. The decrease in the labor force participation rate comes at a time when there are more than 10 million job openings – a disturbingly high level that we have now seen for sixteen straight months,” he says.
The report also showed that hourly wage employees on private nonfarm payrolls saw an 18-point increase in pay (0.6%), raising compensation to $32.82. Wahlquist says the increase comes just in time. “The news of continued wage increases is encouraging for workers and their families as we enter the holiday season.” And over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 5.1%.
On the front lines in the staffing sector, Wahlquist believes the November report is a reiteration of what he and industry professionals have already known—the talent crunch is not over. “Today’s report reflects what we’ve been hearing from employers about labor scarcity and higher wages,” he says. “Although large firm layoffs make headlines, employers across many sectors are still struggling to fill open positions and are really focusing on employee engagement and retention—holding on to the workers they have.”
December’s Employment Situation Summary is scheduled to be released on January 6, 2023.