Published on December 6, 2013

Economy adds 203,000 jobs in Nov.; unemployment rate drops

WASHINGTON (Dec. 6, 2013) — Nonfarm employment rose by 203,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent from October’s 7.3 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Many employment sectors saw strong increases in November, including manufacturing (up 27,000 jobs), retail trade (up 22,000), transportation and warehousing (up 31,000), professional and business services (up 35,000) and construction (up 17,000). Federal government employment declined, while mining and logging, wholesale trade, information and financial activities saw little change.

Professional associations that monitor employment figures noted the improvement, but said it isn’t time to celebrate just yet.

“Despite good recent employment growth, manufacturing remains a recovery jobs laggard, and the nondurables sector is still stuck in a jobs recession,” said Alan Tonelson, research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council.

“Continuing record manufacturing deficits indicate that industry is slowly creating jobs in spite of President Obama’s trade policies, not because of them,” Mr. Tonelson said. “Congress, therefore, should grant him limited trade negotiation authority only after he starts producing better results, not before.”

Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) described as “ho-hum” the state of hiring in the small business sector.

“The small-business hiring trend stayed positive in November, but that is as good as it gets,” said NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg.

“Overall, most of the employment indicators posted positive gains, indicating a somewhat better job creation figure and a lower unemployment rate reading,” Mr. Dunkelberg said. “But this is not a lot of progress for this far into a recovery.”

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