The new unemployment report is out, and it has a figure that in normal times would be strong: Employers added 245,000 new jobs in November. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.9% to 6.7%. But in the context of the surging pandemic, the stat about new jobs is worrisome because it comes in well below expectations of 440,000, per the Wall Street Journal. The November figure is down sharply from 610,000 in October and marks the fifth consecutive month of a decline, per the AP. And CNBC notes that things will likely get worse for the economy in the next few months until vaccines are readily available.
“As infection rates go down, as the number of people vaccinated goes up, then we’ll start to see … business activity expand at a faster rate, and we will see the employment numbers pick up more strongly,” David Berson of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. tells the Journal. For more context, the AP notes that the economy has recovered only 12 million or so of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April when the pandemic began. November's figure of 245,000 new jobs is the lowest since April. (Read more unemployment stories.)