November 2018 Jobs Report: Unemployment Remains at Historic Low

By Robert Half on December 7, 2018 at 8:37am

Employers expanded payrolls by 155,000 positions in November, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Since the start of 2018, the economy has added nearly 2.3 million jobs, or an average of 206,000 jobs per month. 

The following sectors created the most new jobs in November, according to the BLS:

  • Education and health services — 34,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services — 32,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing — 27,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing — 25,400 jobs added
  • Retail trade — 18,200 jobs added

Unemployment rate holds steady

The national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, marking three consecutive months that the rate has sat at a 49-year low. 

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older ticked up slightly, to 2.2 percent, after sitting at 2.0 percent in October and September. These workers are in the highest demand by employers.

What employers need to know

Winter weather may be rolling in, but the hiring market remains very hot. There is intense competition for skilled talent — and with every new job created, that competition only increases. Data from the BLS underscore the challenge employers face when hiring: There were more than 7 million job openings at the end of September 2018.

The good news is the last month of the calendar year can be a great time for connecting with potential hires. There are many active candidates — and passive job seekers — scoping out opportunities in preparation for a job change in the new year. You could gain an edge on the competition by kicking off your hiring efforts now, instead of putting them on ice until January. Consider enlisting the help of an expert recruiter to help you cover more ground, faster, in these last few weeks of 2018. 

Also, be careful not to let your retention efforts slide during this busy season. Let your existing staff know how much you have appreciated their hard work over the past year — and how much you look forward to having their support in 2019.

What job seekers need to know

If your New Year’s resolution is to find a new job, why wait until 2019 to start your search? Many businesses are trying to staff open jobs before year-end, or at least, make contact with promising candidates to follow up with in January. 

So, as you’re sending good wishes to your professional contacts this holiday season, be sure to let them know that you’re open to new career opportunities. They may be aware of promising leads that you can investigate now and perhaps can help you get a dialogue started with potential employers.

This extra effort now could help shorten the path to an interview — and, potentially, quickly lead to a new job in 2019!

An infographic summarizing the November 2018 jobs report and survey data from Robert Half

Monthly Jobs Summary: November 2018



155,000 JOBS ADDED*




Unemployment Rate Unemployment Rate for College Grads**
DEC’ 17 4.1% 2.1%
JAN ’18 4.1% 2.1%
FEB ’18 4.1% 2.3%
MAR ’18 4.1% 2.2%
APR ’18 3.9% 2.1%
MAY ’18 3.8% 2.0%
JUN '18 4.0% 2.3%
JUL ’18 3.9% 2.2%
AUG '18 3.9% 2.1%
SEP '18 3.7% 2.0%
OCT '18 3.7% 2.0%
NOV '18 3.7% 2.2%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at


78% of workers said they would feel comfortable looking for a new job while with their current employer.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers

© 2018 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.

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