Employers cut 533,000 jobs last month, bringing losses so far this year to 1.91 million, the Labor Department said today in Washington. November’s drop exceeded all 73 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, the highest level since 1993.
Payrolls are likely to keep sliding into next year as the collapse in credit and slump in spending hurt companies from General Motors Corp. to Citigroup Inc. and AT&T Inc. President- elect Barack Obama, confronting what he called a crisis of historic proportions,” announced a plan last week to save or create 2.5 million jobs over two years.
Payrolls were forecast to drop by 335,000, according to the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate was projected to rise to 6.8 percent. Revisions for September and October increased job losses by 199,000. November was the 11th consecutive drop in payrolls.
Factory payrolls fell 85,000 after decreasing 104,000 in October. The return of 27,000 striking machinists at Boeing Co. last month helped limit the drop.
Economists had forecast a decline of 100,000 manufacturing jobs. The decrease included a loss of 13,100 jobs in auto manufacturing and parts industries.
Today’s report also reflected the housing slump and the worst credit crisis in seven decades. Payrolls at builders dropped 82,000 after decreasing 64,000. Financial firms decreased payrolls by 32,000, after a loss of 31,000 jobs the prior month.
Service industries, which include banks, insurance companies, restaurants and retailers, subtracted 370,000 workers after declining 153,000 in the previous month. Professional and business services, a category that includes temporary workers, eliminated 136,000 jobs. Retail payrolls decreased by 91,300 after a decline of 62,200.
Education and health services industries added 52,000 jobs and government payrolls increased by 7,000.
The employment slump was a key factor in determining the start of the recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of U.S. business cycles, announced this week that a contraction began in December 2007, the month payrolls peaked.
At 12 months, the recession is already the longest since the 16-month slump that ended in November 1982.