U.S. seen adding almost 600,000 jobs in November, but labor shortage persists

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Wall Street is betting that the US added more than half a million new jobs in November, potentially prompting the Federal Reserve to end a massive economic-stimulus strategy faster than planned.

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Here’s what to look for in Friday’s employment report.

Forecast …

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According to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, the number of new jobs created in November rose from 531,000 in October to 573,000.

Companies are raising salaries and being more aggressive in hiring, the thinking goes. Experts say Delta’s cases have also dwindled and that the end of additional unemployment benefits in September should prompt more people to look for work.

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be possible. But it could take a year and a half for America to get back to a state of employment crisis, even as the economy continues to average 500,000 new jobs a month. The labor crisis is not going away soon.

Unemployment rate

The official unemployment rate has dropped from 4.6% to 4.5%. Reliable? Not completely.

The unemployment rate still doesn’t capture all those people who are actually unemployed. Nor does the official figure include the millions of people who have dropped out of the labor force and are not counted in the unemployment rate.

Economists suspect that the real unemployment rate is a few points higher. But not because jobs are few. Job opportunities near record highs and Americans say the labor market is as good as ever.

Is the labor force growing?

The permanent damage caused by the pandemic is most evident in the depressed percentage of able-bodied citizens in the labor force aged 16 or older. The so-called participation rate fell to a 47-year low of 60.2% in 2020 and has barely risen over the past year.

The rate was 63.4% before the pandemic.

Economists predict that more people entered the labor force in November, but the worst labor shortage in decades will remain – and will halt economic recovery – until more people resume working or looking for work. Doesn’t happen

Jobless claims jump from 28,000 to 222,000, but big volatility around Thanksgiving raises questions

wages and inflation

The workers are benefiting from the labor shortage, that’s right. Wages are increasing rapidly. Average hourly wages have jumped 4.9% over the past 12 months and a similar reading is expected in November.

Down side? Rising wages are feeding the biggest increase in US inflation in 31 years. So the cost of living is rising faster than Americans earn.

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