US employers cut only 11,000 jobs in November

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American employers cut only 11,000 jobs during November, official figures revealed today, the smallest number of redundancies since the US economic recession began at the end of 2007.

Economists, who has been predicting a much more significant decline, said the figures suggested America’s unemployment crisis was finally beginning to ease, providing something of a respite for President Barack Obama, who held a jobs summit yesterday amid criticism that his administration was not doing enough to help people find work.

The US Labor Department also said that there had been 159,000 fewer job losses in October than it had previously estimated. The combined effect of the data is that the US unemployment rate has fallen slightly, from 10.2 to 10 per cent.

Economists and policymakers have been surprised by the extent of job losses during the American recession, with more than 7 million people put out of work since the onset of the decline. While American’s economy moved out of recession in the third quarter of the year, there has been widespread concern that the problem of joblessness would hold back the pace of recovery.

In particular, some economists have warned that the recovery was dependent on the Government’s temporary fiscal stimulus programme. However, the jobs data shows that while the US public sector was a net hirer of workers last month, so were three other sectors of the economy, suggesting the recovery may be more broadly based than some critics have claimed.