NEW YORK — The American unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November and the economy added a paltry 39,000 net jobs, the government reported this morning, dealing a substantial blow to hopes that better fortunes are taking shape.
Many economists had been expecting to see the number of jobs rise by about 150,000, amid recent talk that a real and sustainable recovery is finally underway, following the most punishing economic downturn since the Great Depression.
But the disappointing monthly snapshot of the nation’s job market released by the Labor Department chastened such views, underscoring the enormous strains still weighing on the economy, leaving 15 million Americans still officially out of work.
“It’s almost dead in the water,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington. “There’s no sector showing good job growth right now. You really can’t find anything good in this report.”