The U.S. economy's unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 per cent in November, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) monthly report, made available on Friday. It was hovering at 9.6 per cent in each of the prior three months, the BLS cautioned.

In a development that is almost certain to increase pressure on the Obama administration to intensify its job-creation efforts, the BLS also noted that nonfarm payroll employment barely changed, adding a mere 39,000 jobs. This marks the worst month for the U.S. job market, since September.

Worryingly one of the main sectors that added jobs was temporary help services — reflecting a shortfall in permanent job creation. The only other sector to add significantly to the jobs total was healthcare. Employment in retail trade, however, fell and in most major industries it changed little over the month.

Reflecting continuing weakness in job markets across sectors, the BLS data suggested that the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 390,000 to 9.5 million in November.

The number of people who were looking for permanent jobs but not finding them remained more or less unchanged at 9 million.

Many of the workers in this category were employed part time for economic reasons, that is, because their hours had been cut-back or because they were unable to find a full-time job, the BLS said.

The numbers of those who were not in the labour force but wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, rose from 2.3 million a year earlier. The November joblessness figures did not include such individuals as they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

In the professional and business services sectors, employment in temporary help services continued to increase in November, with 40,000 jobs added, the BLS report said.

It also noted that employment in mining continued to trend up over the month and support activities for mining added 6,000 jobs in November.

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