Unemployment Rate Climbs to 9.8% as Job Growth Slows

unemployed workersThe nation's unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent in November, a seven-month high, as hiring slowed.

Employers added only 39,000 jobs last month, a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The weakness was widespread. Retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs last month.

Many economists were predicting the addition of 150,000 jobs. The economy has recently flashed signs of gaining momentum with busier factories, rising auto sales and a good start to the holiday shopping season. But that didn't translate into mass hiring in November.

The report was a reminder that the economic recovery is proceeding more slowly and fitfully than many economists had expected. It is likely to push lawmakers to pass an extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which expired this week.

Stock futures fell as the disappointing job figures began to cool this week's rally on Wall Street.

"November's U.S. employment report is a painful reality check for those hoping that a meaningful acceleration in economic activity was underway," said Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics. "The truth is that the economy is going nowhere at a time when companies are not willing to boost hiring."

Private companies - the backbone of the economy - created only 50,000 jobs. That was down significantly from the 160,000 private-sector jobs created in October and was the smallest gain since January.

With hiring so weak, the unemployment rate rose from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9 percent for 19 straight months, the longest stretch on record.

All told there were 15.1 million people unemployed in November.

Adding those unemployed people to others who are working part time but would prefer full-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work, 17 percent of the labor force is "underemployed." That was the same as October. Still, the figure remains close to a record high set last year.

Another grim figure: There was a record 1.3 million "discouraged" workers in November. Those are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.

Last month, retailers slashed 28,100 jobs. Factories sliced 13,000. Financial firms cut 9,000 and construction companies trimmed 5,000. The public sector eliminated 11,000 positions, mostly reflecting cuts from local governments.

Those adding jobs: health care, with 19,000 new positions, mostly at hospitals. Temporary-help firms added 40,000 jobs, educational services companies added 6,200 positions, and leisure and hospitality expanded payrolls by 11,000.

The economy needs to add at least 120,000 jobs to prevent the unemployment rate from rising. To reduce the unemployment rate significantly, monthly job creation has to be a lot stronger - up to 300,000 new jobs a month.

Economists say it could take until near the end of this decade to drop the unemployment rate to a more normal 6 percent.

Before the lame-duck Congress adjourns later this month, lawmakers are expected to pass legislation renewing aid to the unemployed.

Extended benefit programs that provide up to 99 weeks of extra aid to the unemployed expired at the end of November because Congress failed to extend them. Nearly 2 million stand to lose unemployment benefits as the holiday arrives.

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December 03 2010 at 7:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This mess might be the fault of BOTH SIDES.......But why isnt OBAMMY taking action by looking at what WORKED in the past.....Not doing what created a DEPRESSION in the past...........

December 03 2010 at 6:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Google.... AMERICANS BUYING GUNS IN PREPARATION FOR CIVIL UNREST ..... October 18, 2010 ........Americans are acquiring guns, silver and food stamps at record levels in reaction to the crumbling economy, trends indicative of a fearful public who are struggling financially and preparing for potential mass civil unrest in the aftermath of a total economic collapse. ~~~~~ FBI records and Google Trends research shows that firearms purchases are still at record highs, but that ammunition sales have leveled off, suggesting that a flood of first-time gun owners have rushed to protect themselves from the potential of higher crime and even civil unrest in the event of a widespread financial meltdown. ~~~~~ “That tells us that there are more first-time [gun] buyers coming in to buy firearms and that speaks to your worries about security. They buy a few rounds [of ammunition] first time, but they don’t buy more,” ConvergEx Group Chief Market Strategist Nicholas Colas told CNBC. ( see CNBC video ) ~~~~~ Interest in silver coins is also surging, with Americans looking for more affordable ways to protect their increasingly devalued dollar savings with many unable to afford soar away gold prices. ~~~~~ “Just two years ago, silver coin sales were on the magnitude of 1 million units a month, now it’s 3 million units a month,” said Colas. ~~~~~ Used car prices have also tailed off, a reflection of shaky confidence in the much heralded “recovery” of the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, Google searches for how to get food stamps have also skyrocketed. ~~~~~ However, the steady increase in gun sales is just as much a reaction to the political climate as it is economic uncertainties. ~~~~~ Just before Obama took office, the perceived anti-gun agenda of a President backed by a Democrat-controlled House and Senate prompted a record surge in firearms purchases. ~~~~~ With Obama’s White House still full of anti-second amendment figures like Attorney General Eric Holder and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the American people are loathe to become lackadaisical about their right to keep and bear arms, particularly when active duty combat troops are being brought back from Afghanistan and Iraq to train how to run local city governments and subjugate communities. ~~~~~ Troops are also being trained to deal with “civil unrest” and “crowd control” in the event of a national emergency. ~~~~~ During the last such national emergency, Hurricane Katrina, gun owners were told that “no one will be able to be armed – we will take all the weapons,” and even residents in high and dry areas had their firearms confiscated by US troops, police and mercenaries. ~~~~~ Given the fact that every forecaster worth his salt is predicting mass civil disobedience in America once austerity measures that are causing riots in Europe fully come into force, including the Obama administration’s move to seize private 401(k) pensions, it’s hardly surprising that Americans continue to stockpile weapons and precious metals in preparation for anarchy, chaos, and potentially martial law.......

December 03 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This country is headed for a Civil War II is we don't fix this mess. Democrat vs Republican, conservative vs liberal, employed vs unemployed, those with health care those none, those with homes vs those under foreclosure,.....I too have a solution but I'm not an elected official so my view is worthless. But, I will warn the politicans and bankers; time is running out. The American people are under too much stress for too long. It makes us ripe for a demigod with a good speaking voice to make all the difference. It happened in Russia in 1917 and in Germany in 1933. Don't let it happen here.

December 03 2010 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

How is all of this hope and change working out for you idiots that voted this clown in? LOL

December 03 2010 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

As I said it before, some people need to live in a dictatorship government. That's the only way people wake up and appreciate their country. Obama is a traitor to this country, he hates the United States of America, but people are willing to sacrifice their liberty and freedom for a couple of food stamps.

December 03 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

For those that blame outsourcing. Products that are made overseas are then brought over here and are what keeps prices low when you go to Walmart. The manufacture is happy - the consumer is happy. What is the incentive for Companies to hire people here and make the products? NOTHING! As long we don't price those goods compentative with U.S. goods by charging a tariff, there is no incentive for companies, and it's a matter of survival (or greed)to keep it that way. Cheap labor, materials, and no tariff on goods being brought into this country means you can't have things both ways. We are now a country of intellectual dim-wits and not the industrial power of 50 years ago.

December 03 2010 at 3:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

i for one am glad congress and our president have been able to do something about these numbers, the false set of numbers they would have had you believe were just killing them in the poles

December 03 2010 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I'm tired of hearing constantly "It's the Democrat's fault that the economy has not come back, unemployment is high, Obama has done nothing to fix. Especially in Michigan where we have had a Democrat Governor for the past 8 years, has little to do with the Governor, so much as it has to do with our economic base which is (or was) deeply rooted in Manufacturing. This sector has taken a hit and is partially the result of NAFTA (which although signed in to law by Clinton) was drafted by Bush, as a result of collaboration with Mexico and Canada. My point is that if you look at each state's unemployment level. The states governed by Democrats have a lower level of unemployment as a whole than states with Republican governors. States with a Democrat governor have a 12% share of high (above 10%) unemployment while Republican states have 21%. Strange how the republicans like to tell us how much they will turn things around when the ones already in office can't seem to do it.

December 03 2010 at 3:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Kathy's comment

The ship is sinking! Man the lifeboats! What? There are no lifeboats? Every man for himself! Sink or swim! What? You can't swim? Tough luck buddy! No life preservers either!

December 03 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply