Employment Picture Improves in November as Health Care and Government Jobs Add Jobs, Strikes End

Craig Bannister | December 8, 2023
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Job growth increased more than expected and the unemployment rate dipped in November, as strikes ended and government and health care expanded, data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 199,000 from October, more than the 180,000 expected, but well below the average monthly growth of 240,000 over the past year.

The unemployment rate edged down, from a seasonally-adjusted 3.9% in October to 3.7% last month, but was above the 3.4% level of a year ago (November 2022).

In November, health care added 77,000 jobs, above the average monthly gain of 54,000 over the prior 12 months. Government employment increased by 49,000 in November, in line with the average monthly gain of 55,000 over the prior 12 months.

Combined, the 126,000 increase in health care and government accounted for nearly two-thirds (63%) of the jobs added in November.

Employment in manufacturing rose by 28,000 in November, reflecting an increase of 30,000 in motor vehicles and parts as workers returned from a strike.

Likewise, the end of strikes in the motion picture and sound recording industries helped add 17,000 jobs in this sector, compared to October.

Retail trade employment declined by 38,000 in November, however. In particular, employment decreased in department stores (-19,000), as well as in furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (-6,000) over the month.

Employment in professional and business services also fell in November, declining by 9,000 jobs, from 22,980 in October to 22,971 last month.

Asians were the only major demographic group to record a higher unemployment rate over the month:

  • Adult men (3.7%, unchanged from October).
  • Adult women (3.1%, down from 3.3%).
  • Teenagers (11.4%, down from 13.2%).
  • Whites (3.3%, down from 3.5%).
  • Blacks (unchanged at 5.8%).
  • Asians (3.5%, up from 3.1%).
  • Hispanics (4.6%, down from 4.8%).


The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

Unemployment Rate

Civilian Unemployment Rate, Seasonally Adjusted (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)