(NewsNation Now) — America’s employers slowed the pace of their hiring in November, adding 210,000 jobs, the fewest in nearly a year.
Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.2% from 4.6%. That is a historically low level though still above the pre-pandemic jobless rate of 3.5%.
The report also underscored the effects of the Great Resignation, which has seen baby boomers retire in numbers so large that members of the much smaller Generation X could not fill the gap. The transportation and retail sectors have seen steep declines, and the hospitality industry alone has lost 1.3 million workers since early 2020.
Experts say in addition to retirements, may have left jobs to find others in the same field for better pay and benefits, while others have changed careers. Many have made moves in search of better work/life balance.
Overall, the November jobs figures point to an economic recovery that looks resilient though under threat from a spike in inflation and the potential impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Little is definitively known about the variant, and widespread business shutdowns are considered unlikely. Still, omicron could discourage some Americans from traveling, shopping and eating out in the coming months and potentially slow the economy.
For now, though, Americans are spending freely, and the economy is forecast to expand at a 7% annual rate in the final three months of the year, a big rebound from the 2.1% pace in the previous quarter, when the delta variant hobbled growth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.