Job growth was tepid last month, with the U.S. economy adding back just 210,000 positions in November, but of note to real estate interests, construction and warehousing saw significant gains, according to the federal government’s Labor Department.
Seasonally adjusted employment in retail declined, and the leisure and hospitality sector added only 23,000 new workers.
The overall pace of hiring was slower than a consensus of economists expected, though a rise in national employment has been consistent throughout the year.
“Any way you look at it, the job market continues to improve,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Hiring numbers for October and September were revised upward — a retrospective update performed each month — for a monthly average gain of 555,000 this year. A separate Labor Department survey estimated the number of unemployed people fell by 542,000 in November, lowering the unemployment rate to 4.2 percent.
Participation in the labor force remains strong as wages have risen alongside inflation. Average hourly earnings have risen by 4.8 percent over the past 12 months, according to the Labor Department. “Coupled with the still elevated number of job openings, this suggests that the economy is getting closer to full employment.”
Approximately 210,000 more people work in transportation and warehousing today than did in February 2020, as consumer demand for deliveries remains robust. The industrial real estate boom has played out in countless deals across the nation. In New York City’s borough of Queens, a car dealer’s lot was sold to a logistics developer planning a mammoth vertical warehouse.
The construction industry hired 31,000 people in November, mirroring gains in the previous two months. The pace of residential homebuilding is expected to accelerate next year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A shortage of affordable homes coupled with low interest rates has supported job gains in residential construction.
Leisure and hospitality, the industry hardest hit by the pandemic, employs 1.3 million or 7.9 percent fewer people than it did in February 2020, when Covid cases began to pop up on the East and West coasts.