The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, marking nearly the lowest number of jobs created in a month since President Joe Biden took office in January.
November’s jobs report was well below economists’ estimate of 573,000, according to CNBC. Additionally, unemployment fell to 4.2% from October’s 4.6% figure, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The U.S. economy, still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic but now subject to uncertainty related to the Omicron coronavirus variant, appeared to slow in momentum in November, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Just as Delta derailed the recovery in terms of the labor market, if Omicron behaved like that, I would guess it would hold back any recovery in the labor market,” Justin Weidner, an economist at Deutsche Bank, told the WSJ.
“Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which could slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in Senate Banking Committee testimony on Tuesday.
The BLS initially reported that 194,000 jobs were added to the economy in September, the lowest number of new jobs for a single month in 2021, but that figure was revised substantially to 312,000 jobs, CNBC reported.
November’s report is still strong enough for the Federal Reserve to accelerate its asset purchase tapering, Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist for Oxford Economics, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Yes, the jobs report is strong enough for the Fed to announce a likely doubling of the pace of QE asset purchase tapering,” Daco said. “The Fed’s pivot is aimed at providing hawkish forward guidance while clearing the runway for rate hikes anytime after March 2022.”
“Hawkish optionality will give the Fed until mid-2022 to observe inflation and employment developments,” Daco added.
Some experts are optimistic about the improving labor market heading into the holiday season.
“I think it’s going to look better and better,” John Tammy, director of FreedomWorks’ Center for Economic Freedom, told the DCNF.
“There is this myth that Americans are lazy, and suddenly these payments caused them to be lazy. Americans are enterprising people, they are notorious workers,” Tammy said. “The idea that Americans want to remain idle and unproductive is offensive, and I don’t buy it.”
As the U.S. economy continues its post-pandemic recovery, millions of Americans remain out of the workforce and job openings are at a record high due to unemployment benefits, low interest rates and more, Hoover Institution fellow Tyler Goodspeed told the DCNF.