The U.S. economy saw payrolls expand in November, with employers adding 210,000 jobs, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure is well below analysts’ expectations of 573,000. However, the BLS also reports that the labor force participation rate increased to 61.8% in November — its highest level since March 2020, just before the start of the global health crisis.

The agency also shared revised job numbers for September and October, showing that those two months combined saw 82,000 more positions added than were previously reported. Accounting for those corrections, employment in the U.S. economy has increased by about 6.1 million jobs since the start of 2021 — an average of 555,000 jobs per month.

Professional and business services led job growth in November

Employers in professional and business services helped fuel job gains last month, with employers adding 90,000 positions. The following industries also saw notable job gains in November, according to the BLS:

  • Transportation and warehousing: 50,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 31,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 31,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality: 23,000 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 13,000 jobs added
  • Other services: 10,000 jobs added

Industries that experienced payroll contraction last month include government (-25,000) and retail (-20,000), the BLS reports.

Unemployment drops to 4.2%

The national unemployment rate in November was 4.2%, falling from 4.6% in October.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers was 2.3% last month, down from 2.4% in October. These professionals are the most highly sought-after job candidates by employers.

Number of employed persons working remotely edges down to 11.3%

In November, 11.3% of employed persons teleworked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, down from 11.6% in the prior month. The BLS describes these workers as employed persons who worked away from the office for pay at some point in the last four weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Also, according to household survey supplemental data from the BLS, the number of people unable to work at all, or who worked fewer hours at some point in the four weeks preceding the latest survey due to the pandemic, dropped slightly from 3.8 million in October to 3.6 million in November.

Find out more about current hiring trends

The Demand for Skilled Talent report from Robert Half provides the latest available data on hiring trends and top positions for several key industries, including accounting and finance, marketing and creative, technology, legal, and healthcare. Or current report features survey findings on how workers feel the pandemic has affected their career, and what skills employers seek in their company’s future leaders. The report also offers insight on the cost of making a bad hire.

View The Demand for Skilled Talent report now on the Robert Half website.