South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

US employers cut hiring as pandemic accelerate­s

245K jobs added in November as monthly slowdowns continue

- By Christophe­r Rugaber

WASHINGTON — With the viralpande­micacceler­ating across the country, America’s employers sharply scaled back their hiring last month, adding 245,000 jobs, the fewest since April and the fifth straight monthly slowdown.

At the same time, the unemployme­nt rate fell to a still-high 6.7%, from6.9% in October as many people stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed, the Labor Department said. November’s job gain was down drasticall­y from a 610,000 gain in October.

Friday’s report provided the latest evidence that the job market and economy are faltering in the face of a virus thathas been shattering daily records for confirmed infections. Economic activity is likely to slow further with health officials warning against all but essential travel and states and cities limiting gatherings, restrictin­g restaurant dining and reducing the hours and capacity of bars, stores and other businesses.

Most experts say the economy and job market won’t be able to fully recover until the virus can be controlled with an effective and widely used vaccine. And the picture could worsen before it improves.

“The recovery is not insulated from the effects of the pandemic,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at employment website Glassdoor.

The slowdown comes at a fraught time. Two enhanced federal unemployme­nt benefit programs are set to expire at the end of this month — just as viral cases are surging and colder weather is shutting down outdoor dining and many public events. Unless Congress enacts another rescue aid package, more than 9million unemployed people will be left without any jobless aid, stateor federal, beginning after Christmas.

Renewed efforts in Congress to reach a deal have picked up momentum. A bipartisan group of senators has proposed a $908 billion plan that would include expanded unemployme­nt benefits, more small-business loans and aid to state and local government­s. President Donald Trump has voiced sup

 ?? NAM Y. HUH/AP ?? A man pushes carts by a hiring sign at a Jewel Osco grocery store in April in Deerfield, Ill.
NAM Y. HUH/AP A man pushes carts by a hiring sign at a Jewel Osco grocery store in April in Deerfield, Ill.

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