U.S. Economy Disappoints in November: Only 210K Jobs Added

December 3, 2021
Author: Mallory Vachon, Ph.D., Sr. Economist

Job gains slowed dramatically in November with only 210,000 jobs added, but despite lower-than-expected gains this month, the U.S. recovery is still making progress toward recovery after a big month in October.

In November, the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs, underwhelming expectations at less than half of October's gain of 546,000 (September and October’s jobs numbers were revised upward by a total of 82,000 jobs.)

National Labor Market Performance | November 2021

October numbers were boosted by a decline in COVID-19 cases, but November ended with news of a new COVID-19 variant - omicron - the impacts of which will not be reflected in this month's job numbers.

For perspective, the economy lost 22.4 million jobs in the early months of the pandemic, and around four million remain unfilled. The omicron variant may not have the same impact, but we will likely see slower growth and recovery through the winter months.

Even still, as COVID-19 becomes endemic and with businesses challenged to fill open roles, hiring has picked up amidst record-level job openings, despite the fierce competition for talent.

A Look Ahead: Economic Recovery

Reaching pre-pandemic employment levels is still possible in 2022. At a pace of roughly 307,000 jobs added per month — less than the monthly gains for September and October but more than November — all jobs lost would be recovered by the end of 2022.

Many large metros lost a substantial number of jobs at the outset of the pandemic. While many of these places still have a long way to go, they have added the most jobs recently, and their job gains play an outsized role in the national recovery. Talent acquisition professionals in these areas will be hard at work!

Top 5 Metros for Jobs Added in October

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Top Metros for Jobs & Migration

Migration and population growth are other key drivers of economic success. Talent may relocate for a job opportunity, but people don’t often move alone — they move with partners/spouses and children. And these people increase the demand for goods and services — bars and restaurants, hair salons and clothing stores, education and healthcare all thrive when population is increasing.

Top 5 Metros for Net Migration in 2021

  1. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  3. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  5. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy reports, forecasts and advises on employment conditions and the impact to jobs, industries and businesses across all U.S. cities.