November 2019 Jobs Report: U.S. Employers Add 266,000 Jobs

By Robert Half on December 6, 2019 at 7:01am

Job gains in November were well above many economists’ expectations, with employers adding 266,000 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

Since the start of 2019, the economy has seen job gains of nearly 2 million — or roughly 180,000 positions per month, on average. That figure reflects adjustments to data for September and October: The BLS says employers created 41,000 more positions during those months than previously reported. 

The following sectors led payroll expansion in November:

  • Education and health services: 74,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 54,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality: 45,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services: 38,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 15,500 jobs added

Unemployment rate down to 3.5%

The national unemployment rate was 3.5% in November, down slightly from the previous month.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older also edged down, to 2.0%, from 2.1% in October. These workers are in the highest demand by employers.

Recent BLS data show that the unemployment rates for specialized occupations continue to trend lower than the national average. For example, the rate for accountants and auditors is 2.0%. For software developers, the rate is 1.1%. And the unemployment rate for lawyers is just 0.2%

What employers need to know

In this tight hiring market, companies are under pressure to offer the most competitive compensation they can reasonably provide to attract and retain skilled talent. However, as the old saying goes, money isn’t everything. 

Job seekers expect companies to present an array of attractive nonmonetary perks and benefits, too. In fact, businesses that don’t step up to sweeten the pot with these offerings risk losing out on potential hires: Two in five workers surveyed by Robert Half said they have lost interest in a position because a company wasn’t willing to negotiate elements beyond salary. 

So, when you are in talks with in-demand candidates, you’ll want to be prepared to negotiate perks and benefits. Our survey sheds light on what employers are most willing to flex on, outside of salary:

  • Reimbursement for professional development and training (52%)
  • Benefits (47%)
  • Remote work or scheduling arrangements (45%)

To prepare for these negotiations, consult Robert Half’s latest Salary Guides for insight into what benefits, perks and starting salaries leading employers should offer job candidates.

Also, when negotiating with potential hires, don’t forget to highlight what makes your company’s organizational culture special: For many professionals, a great work environment is a valuable perk in itself.

What job seekers need to know

The shortage of skilled talent available for hire has many employers willing to go the extra mile to convince top candidates to join their organization. That includes being open to engaging in some back-and-forth with potential hires about compensation and the types of benefits and perks the company may be able to provide.

You’ll want to be strategic when negotiating both salary and nonmonetary perks, though. Think about what you really want and need, because there is some risk in asking for too much — and standing too firm on your asks.

During the job application and interview process, be sure to gather details about the types of benefits and perks the company already offers its employees. That can help you to refine your list of asks. For instance, if you’d like to telecommute regularly, but the company doesn’t provide that option, consider asking for something else you’d value — like extra vacation days. 

It can also help to know what similar companies in your industry provide to their employees, as that could strengthen your position in negotiations. Resources like Robert Half’s Salary Guides can be useful for this research. You might also want to work with a recruiter to assist with your job search: A staffing professional can handle all the job offer negotiations for you and help ensure you receive a fair compensation package.

If your skills are in demand, chances are good you can press a hiring manager for the perks and benefits you really what you want. But, again, avoid being inflexible. If you really want the job, think carefully about everything that the employer is putting on the table — and what you might lose if you sweat the details in negotiations too much.

An infographic summarizing the November 2019 jobs report and survey data from Robert Half


266,000 JOBS ADDED*




    Unemployment Rate Unemployment Rate for College Grads
  December '18 3.9% 2.1%
  January '19 4.0% 2.4%
  February '19 3.8% 2.2%
  March '19 3.8% 2.0%
  April '19 3.6% 2.1%
  May '19 3.6% 2.1%
  June '19 3.7% 2.1%
  July '19 3.7% 2.2%
  August '19 3.7% 2.1%
  September '19 3.5% 2.0%
  October '19 3.6% 2.1%
  November '19 3.5% 2.0%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at



43% of workers have rejected or lost interest in a job offer because the company wasn’t willing to negotiate elements beyond salary.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 workers in the U.S.

© 2019 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.

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