U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in November, exceeding expectations

Dan Li |
Chief Financial Officer | Snagajob + PhD in Economics | Northwestern University

The U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in November, in an increase from October’s growth of 150,000 jobs.

The U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in November, in an increase from October’s growth of 150,000 jobs.

Gains were seen in the healthcare, and government sectors, as well as in manufacturing due to the end of strikes in the auto industry. There was a notable growth of 40,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry; however, there was a drop of 38,000 in the retail industry despite record sales over Cyber Week, with half of that loss coming from department stores.

While September’s large job growth was revised down 35,000 to 262,000, October’s number was unchanged.

After hitting a 12-month high of 3.9% in October, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in November. Wage growth increased to 0.4%, bringing the 12-month wage growth figure to an even 4%.

While the number of jobs added was up in November, the economy has generally shown slower growth and easing inflation, causing the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged at their latest meeting. The Fed is also forecasting 3 interest rate cuts in 2024. All of this points to the increasing likelihood of an economic “soft landing” in 2024.

On Snagajob, job postings are down 5% month over month, showing gains in healthcare (+14%), construction (+8%), and social service (+7%) jobs.

Here’s your roundup of key insights from the report:

  • Wall Street Journal: "Low unemployment, moderating job gains, and easing inflation are prompting optimism that the U.S. economy can achieve a so-called soft landing, where inflation cools without a recession."

  • New York Times: "The [jobs] number is the latest sign that the American economy remains far from recession territory despite a year and a half of interest rate increases that have weighed on consumer spending and business investment."

  • Washington Post: "The labor market has tightened through the end of the year with just a handful of industries, health care especially, fueling job growth."

  • Reuters: "The Labor Department's closely-watched employment report on Friday, which showed annual wage steady last month, did not change views that the Federal Reserve's rate hiking cycle was complete."

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Hourly Jobs

All data is from 3/2/20-11/30/23

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall hourly jobs are up 62% from February 2020's pre-pandemic numbers, and they are down 5% month over month.

Here are the latest job numbers by industry and category:

Food & Restaurant jobs are down 42% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 9% month-over-month and a 49% year-over-year decline.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are down 79% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 33% month-over-month decrease, and a 78% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 193% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 14% month-over-month growth, and a 20% year-over-year decrease.

Retail jobs are down 31% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 8% month-over-month decline, and a 49% year-over-year decline.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 48% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 25% month-over-month decline, and an 81% year-over-year decline.