The surge in coronavirus cases and new business restrictions have cause the labor-market recovery to slow significantly.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported employers added 245,000 jobs last month, down from 610,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate reduced to 6.7% in November from 6.9% a month earlier (partly because fewer were seeking work). When the pandemic hit the US approximately 22 million jobs were lost, 12 million have been regained.

At November’s pace of job growth, employment won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said.

“We saw positive job gains, but I think the sentiment is largely negative because we know that we’re heading into a dark winter,” Mr. Zhao said. “There is a long way to go before we actually have a vaccine in hand and make a full economic recovery.”

Friday’s report highlighted the growing role of e-commerce hiring this holiday season as many consumers opt to order gifts online rather than shop in stores during the pandemic. Companies in transportation and warehousing Meanwhile, employment declined among bricks-and-mortar retailers like sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

“There’s still holiday hiring, it’s just not as we know it,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of staffing firm ManpowerGroup North America. During this holiday season, openings are concentrated in roles like delivery driver and warehouse worker, she said.

Jobs in transportation and warehousing increased last month (added 145,000 jobs in November). Government payrolls declined by almost 100,000 (roll-off of temporary workers hired for the 2020 census).

Consumers boosted their spending in October for the sixth straight month, and new applications for unemployment benefits f__ell last week.__

The nation’s trade deficit widened in October as exports and imports both rose in October for a fifth straight month. The trade deficit rose to a seasonally adjusted $63.1 billion in October from $62.1 billion in September. Exports rose 2.2% to $182.0 billion from the previous month, while imports rose 2.1% to $245.1 billion.

The labor-force participation rate was 61.5% in November (near the lowest level since the 1970s).

On Friday the Labor Department reported the number of individuals out of the labor force who want a job increased in November to 7.1 million.

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