The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 8.6 percent in November, and nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in retail trade, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. Government employment continued to trend down.

In November, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in November, a decrease of 186,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November, with much of the increase occurring in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+27,000) and in electronics and appliance stores (+5,000). Since reaching an employment trough in December 2009, retailers have added an average of 14,000 jobs per month.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in November (+22,000). Within the industry, food services and drinking places added 33,000 jobs. This gain more than offset a loss of 12,000 jobs in the accommodation industry. In the last 12 months, leisure and hospitality added 253,000 jobs, largely driven by employment increases in food services and drinking places.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in November (+33,000). Modest job gains continued in temporary help services.

Health care employment continued to rise in November (+17,000). Within the industry, hospitals added 9,000 jobs. Over the past 12 months, health care has added an average of 27,000 jobs per month.

Manufacturing employment changed little over the month and has remained essentially unchanged since July. In November, fabricated metal products added 8,000 jobs, while
electronic instruments lost 2,000 jobs.

Construction employment showed little movement in November. Employment in the industry has shown little change, on net, since early 2010.

Government employment continued to trend down in November, with a decline in the U.S. Postal Service (-5,000). Employment in both state government and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008.

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