Arlington, Va. Unemployment data released on Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that although job losses have slowed significantly, the economy continues to face challenges.
According to the report, the U.S. economy shed 11,000 jobs in November, the smallest decline since the recession began in December 2007. The unemployment rate dipped to 10%. Retail job losses slowed to 14,500, compared with the more than 44,000 jobs lost in October.
“Today’s unemployment report gives hope to consumers and retailers that a recovery may not be far off. However, it is also a reminder that employers seeking to grow their workforces continue to face challenges,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Policymakers intent on stimulating job growth and the economy must focus on reducing the challenges employers face rather than erecting new barriers to job creation -- which elements of the healthcare legislation under consideration threaten to do.”
The average of 87,000 jobs lost per month in the overall economy over the past three months is down considerably from the 700,000 per month pace of job loss at the depth of the recession.
Other economic data likewise show that the economy has begun to recover, according to the report. Initial claims for unemployment insurance have fallen back to the level of last September before the worst part of the financial crisis, while increases in personal income and spending in October suggest improved prospects for families. The housing market remains weak but has stabilized, with home prices up over the past two quarters, and rising home sales whittling down the elevated inventory of homes for sale.