The new jobs added in the United States during November totaled only 210,000, not even half of the 550,000 economists expected, according to a Fox Business report on Friday.
Describing the situation as a stumbling in the nation's hiring, the report said job growth "significantly undershot expectations."
A report from the Labor Department said payrolls rose by a number far below that expected.
"The unemployment rate (which is calculated based on a separate survey) dropped more than expected to 4.2% from 4.6% — the lowest level since the pandemic began," the report said.
Even as October had reported 546,000 jobs added and September 379,000, there still are some 3.9 million fewer jobs in the country now than there were last February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and government officials across the country tried to shut down the economy.
"Today's employment report is doubly disappointing, because the reference week occurred just as it looked like COVID was on the retreat," Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist, told Fox Business. "This was a moment for people to return to malls and to return to work. The COVID-related news has only gotten worse since then."
The collapse in job growth numbers comes just as health officials are reporting a new omicron variant of COVID, a factor whose impact still remains undetermined. However, the rumors that have accompanied the news have triggered wild fluctuations in the stock market already, with several days of losses, and gains, of hundreds of points.
What already has happened is a suspension of air travel from southern Africa to the U.S. and at least 10 European nations.
The increase in jobs was the smallest monthly gain since a year ago.
Along with the small increase in jobs, Americans are being hit hard with inflation under Joe Biden's economic policies. A survey this week confirmed that 45% of Americans are reporting a "hardship" from the economic hit they have sustained.
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