WASHINGTON (AP) — At first glance, the November jobs report was a sour one.
U.S. employers added just 210,000 jobs. That was the lowest monthly gain since December — and not even half the total that economists had expected. It meant that hiring had decelerated even before the new omicron variant of the coronavirus has done any measurable damage to economy.
Yet the overall portrait that emerged from Friday’s jobs report wasn’t nearly as dreary as the headline number suggested. The unemployment rate plunged from 4.6% to 4.2%, close to what economists consider full employment. And the Labor Department revised up its estimate of the hiring gains for September and October by a combined 82,000 jobs.
For months, America’s job market has been steadily recovering from last year’s brief but intense pandemic recession. In March and April 2020, employers slashed 22 million jobs — a record loss, by far — as governments ordered lockdowns and consumers hunkered down at home to avoid infection.
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