WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. economy added 39,000 jobs in November, and the nationwide unemployment rate crept up to 9.8 percent after hovering at 9.6 percent for the previous three months, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Department of Labor. A total of 15.1 million Americans were unemployed last month.
Since December 2009, the economy has added an average of 86,000 jobs per month.
Temporary help services and the health care sector added the most jobs last month, while employment fell in the retail industry.
The temp services sector added 40,000 jobs in November, the health care industry added 19,000 jobs, 8,000 of which were in hospitals, and the mining industry added 6,000 jobs. Retail jobs fell by 28,000 last month, with department stores shedding 9,000 jobs, and furniture and home furnishings stores trimming 5,000 jobs.
The manufacturing sector lost 13,000 jobs.
Employment gains have remained relatively flat since May. The number of people jobless for six months or longer in November was 6.3 million, or nearly 42 percent of those unemployed.
The number of involuntary part-time workers, forced to work part-time because their hours have been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job, was 9.2 million.
A total of 390,000 people lost their jobs or completed temporary positions last month, raising the total to 9.5 million.
According to revised data, the economy lost 24,000 jobs in September, as opposed to the 95,000 initially reported, and the economy gained 172,000 jobs in October, as opposed to 151,000.