Amid bleak jobs report, gains in construction and warehousing

Number of jobs added declined sharply from October

The construction sector added 27,000 jobs in November, according to the latest Department of Labor figures. (iStock)
The construction sector added 27,000 jobs in November, according to the latest Department of Labor figures. (iStock)

The U.S. economy added just 245,000 jobs in November, down from an adjusted gain of 6100,000 in October, representing the slowest month of growth in six months.

“The pace of improvement is clearly slowing in the face of an uptick in the intensity of Covid-19 cases,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Certain segments of the economy, particularly in-person service sector jobs, are going to be slower to come back from this environment.”

But a handful of real estate sectors, namely construction and warehousing, reported gains amid an otherwise bleak period.

Construction gained 27,000 jobs last month, according to figures from the Department of Labor, spurred in part by strong demand from homebuyers that has lifted builder confidence.

“A notable bright spot was the gain in construction jobs in the residential sector, another sign that the strong housing market continues to lead the overall economy,” said Fratantoni.

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On the industrial side, warehousing and storage accounted for 37,000 positions as e-commerce continued making gains. Transportation and warehousing added 145,000 jobs. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retailers struggled, posting losses of 35,000 jobs.

Other real estate sectors that have adjusted to the pandemic saw job gains in November, although they were muted by a tepid economy overall.

The leisure and hospitality sector gained 31,000 jobs last month, but the industry employs 3.4 million fewer people than it did in February. There was an increase in financial service jobs specific to real estate, with 10,000 positions.

The number of people unemployed for more than 27 consecutive weeks rose by 385,000 to 3.9 million last month, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the total unemployment figures.

The rate of unemployment fell two-tenths of a percent to 6.7 in November, suggesting that some of the unemployed have stopped looking for jobs.

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