Employment growth slows amid Covid surge

Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 245,000 in November, well below Wall Street estimates as rising coronavirus cases coincided with a considerable slowdown in hiring.Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 440,000 and the jobless rate to decrease to 6.7% from 6.9% in October. The unemployment rate met expectations.The numbers come amid a new wave of coronavirus cases that threatens to push the U.S. healthcare system to the brink. More than 100,000 people are hospitalized across the U.S. due to the accelerated outbreak, which saw 210,161 new cases Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project overseen by journalists at The Atlantic.Though the U.S. is coming off its fastest growth quarter ever, economists worry that the next quarter or two could see flat or even negative growth before rebounding strongly in the latter part of 2021.The November job gains would be considered strong under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has left millions of Americans out of work from jobs lost in the early stages of the crisis. The total represents the slowest job growth since the employment recovery began in May.Job gains came from transportation and warehousing, which rose by 145,000 thanks to a jump in couriers and messengers as well as warehousing and storage.Professional and business services added 60,000 and health care was up 46,000. The battered hospitality industry, which has taken the worst of the job losses during the pandemic, increased just 31,000, while retail lost 35,000 jobs, a potentially troubling sign heading into the holiday shopping season.This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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