The unemployment rate in the United States fell to the lowest level last month since the pandemic hit while employers seemed to be slowing hiring. According to a report, this is a mixed indication suggesting a trying economy that is putting more people to work.
The government released a report on Friday last week saying that employers and businesses only added 210,000 jobs in November, which was the lowest month-to-month gain in almost one year. It was also less than half the increase in October of 546,000.
However, other figures from the Labor Department provided a better picture. The unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent as a significant 1.1 million Americans claimed to have found work in November.
The U.S. economy indeed remains at risk from a surge in inflation, a shortage of goods and labor, as well as the possible impact of the omicron variant. However, for the moment, Americans are spending freely, which means that the country is predicted to grow at a 7 percent rate in the last three months of the year. This is a significant increase from the 2.1 percent growth rate in the prior quarter, where the delta variant hindered the growth.
Certain sectors, like bars, restaurants, and hotels, pulled back recruitment last month. In contrast, the growth of jobs was steady in other areas, such as logistics and warehousing, benefiting from the rise of online shopping.
The decline in the unemployment rate was particularly encouraging as it coincided with the increase of half a million job seekers to the workforce, which, for the most part, immediately found jobs. Typically, these individuals would wait a while to find work and be classified under the unemployed until they found jobs. The increase in job seekers could help ease the labor shortage that has plagued businesses since the economy started recovering from the pandemic.
The outlook for jobs for the next few months, however, is getting more complicated due to the rise of the omicron variant. The coronavirus strain is yet to be fully studied, and widespread shutdowns of businesses are not expected. Nevertheless, omicron may deter certain Americans from going out shopping and dining out in the months ahead and could slow down the economy.