US job growth remains strong, defying Fed rate strategy
Other indicators signaled that a more severe contraction is underway.
The PMI for manufacturing, which measures the number of expanding manufacturers, turned negative for the first time since the pandemic. Manufacturers added 14,000 jobs in November, but that was about half the average rate for the previous six months.
Retail was among the few industries to lose jobs as employers like Walmart announced lower-than-normal holiday hiring, though volatility in recent years has made that data harder to gauge accurately. The transportation and warehousing industry has been contracting since mid-summer as pandemic-era shopping sprees gave way to more travel and leisure spending, and lost 15,000 positions in November.
Some self-employed truckers have left for other occupations, said Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations, but the total number of trucking jobs remained well above its 2019 baseline.
“If you’re a good driver, you don’t have a lot of accidents and you can pass a drug test, you have no reason to be unemployed unless you want to. wanted,” Mr. Costello said. “Zero.”
The impact of interest rate hikes is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in layoffs at fast-growing Silicon Valley companies, which had been fueled by abundant venture capital that for many years, couldn’t find better returns in more traditional asset classes.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas measured a fourfold increase in layoffs last month from a year earlier, led by 53,000 pink slips at tech companies, the highest Challenger has measured since the collection began data in 2000. Many of those workers will be dumped by companies that have had a harder time finding talent than marquee employers.
For Deirdre Williams, it only took a month.
Ms Williams was working on a contract with consultancy firm PwC until August when she was told the assignment had been cut short, with no reason given. She had just bought a house in Massachusetts and felt grateful for the state’s generous unemployment benefits. But in October, another contract came along, with a tech recruiting firm at roughly the same salary she was earning before.