The Labor Deparment on Friday morning was out with one of its worst employment reports since stagflation infected the economy in the late 1970s.
The Bureu of Labor Statistics said 533,000 jobs were lost in November, pushing the unemployment rate from 6.5% to 6.7%. The November loss came on top of declines of 403,000 in September and 320,000 in October. Job losses "were large and widespread across the major industry sectors," the bureau said, with only health care posting an increase, which was 35,000. The biggest losers were professional and business services, off 101,000, retail, down 91,000 and manufacturing down 85,000
The construction business continued shedding jobs, losing 82,000 in November. Since peaking in September 2006, construction employment has decreased by 780,000, the largest drop of any sector. Specialty trade contractors lost 50,000 jobs in November, with both residential and nonresidential components contributing to the decline.
Further job losses are a near certainty in December as major corporations pare workforces in the face of recession. In just the first four days of the month, some 35,000 job cuts have been announced.
The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) was steady at 2.2 million month to month but was up 822,000 from November last year. Additionally, there were some 1.9 million "marginally attached to the labor force," up 584,000 from last year. These people looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but not for the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
"Since the start of teh recession in December 2007, as recently announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of unemployed persons increased by 2.7 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points," the Labor Department said in its release.
Meantime, wages grew at an anemic 0.4% in November. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.7%, and average weekly earnings rose by 2.8%.