Key Economic Indicators – December 7, 2020

  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 245 thousand in November, following an increase of 610 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 344 thousand in November, while government employment decreased by 99 thousand. In November, notable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care. Employment declined in government and retail trade.
  • The unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% in November, from 6.9% in October. The unemployment rate was 3.5% in November 2019.
  • The number of unemployed decreased by 326 thousand to 10.735 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 385 thousand to 3.941 million and accounted for 36.9% of the unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate edged down to 61.5% in November. This is 1.9 percentage points below its February level.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.8 hours in November.
  • In November, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 9 cents to $29.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 4.8%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 75 thousand to 712 thousand in the week ending November 28. The 4-week moving average was 739.5 thousand, a decrease of 11.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 21 was 5,520 thousand, a decrease of 569 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 6,194.25 thousand, a decrease of 425.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.8% for the week ending November 21, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
  • Unemployment rates were higher in October than a year earlier in 384 of the 389 metropolitan areas and lower in 5 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A total of 124 areas had jobless rates of less than 5.0% and 16 areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI, had the highest unemployment rate in October (22.5%) followed by El Centro, CA (18.8%). Ames, IA, and Burlington-South Burlington, VT, had the lowest unemployment rates, 1.9% and 2.1%, respectively. A total of 275 areas had October jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 6.6 percent, 103 areas had rates above it, and 11 areas had rates equal to that of the nation. Nonfarm payroll employment decreased over the year in 234 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 155 areas. The largest over-the-year employment decreases occurred in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (1,017,600), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (520,000), and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (343,300). The largest over-the-year percentage losses in employment occurred in Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI (27.3%), Lake Charles, LA (17.8%), and Flagstaff, AZ (16.6%).
  • The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $63.1 billion in October from $62.1 billion in September (revised), as exports increased to $182.0 billion and imports increased to $245.1 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit reached $536.7 billion, compared with $490.1 billion in the first 10 months in 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates reached another record low. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.71% for the week ending December 3, down from last week when it averaged 2.72%. This was the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.68%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.26%, down from last week when it averaged 2.28%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.14%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 0.6% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 27, 2020.
  • There were 65,669,150 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,514,387 deaths, and 42,156,960 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 12/4/2020, 4:00 EST). In the United States, there are 14,282,494 confirmed cases, 277,958 deaths, and 5,404,018 recovered cases. The world is struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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