The U.S economy continues to see improvement in the jobless rate, with the Department of Labor reporting today that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest since December 2008. This follows October’s jobs report, which saw unemployment hover under 8 percent. A year ago today the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.
According to the BLS, since the beginning of this year, the economy has seen growth in employment averaging 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly job gain of 153,000 in 2011. In November, employment rose in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care. We saw minimal impact from Hurricane Sandy, although we did see construction employment drop 20,000 jobs.
Among the major industries, retail trade saw employment rise by 53,000 in November and has increased by 140,000 over the past 3 months, according to the Labor Department. Professional and business services rose by 43,000, with employment in computer systems design and related services showing the most increase.
Health care saw 20,000 jobs added, most of which included gains in hospitals and in nursing care facilities. Health care has added an average of 26,000 jobs per month this year, as outlined in today’s jobs report.
Other gains were made in wholesale trade, which added 13,000 jobs; information employment with 12,000 jobs added, and leisure and hospitality employment continues to trend up with 23,000 jobs added. Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 305,000 jobs.
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, showed little change in November.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.8 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent) showed little or no change in November. The unemployment rate for blacks (13.2 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was the lowest at 6.4 percent.