WASHINGTON – In November, the United States’ economy added 146,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent.
This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.
However, according to The Tennessean, the fall in unemployment was largely due to the fact that more Americans quit looking for work and were not counted as unemployed.
The Labor Department’s report painted a mixed picture of the economy on Friday.
Even though employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than it initially estimated, hiring did remain steady during super-storm Sandy.
In November, the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low. It fell from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent.
Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said that the report “is something of a mixed bag but, on balance, it’s positive.”
The government noted that as long as employees worked at least one day during a pay period, it’s survey would have counted them as employed.
Super-storm Sandy did leave a mark on economic activity though. Construction employment dropped 20,000. And weather prevented 369,000 people from getting to work — the most for any month in nearly two years. These workers were still counted as employed.
Since July, the economy has added an average of 158,000 jobs a month. That’s a modest pickup from 146,000 average in the first six months of the year.
The recent job growth implies that most employers have yet to delay hiring because of the “fiscal cliff.” The “fiscal cliff” is the combination of sharp tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect next year unless the White House and Congress reach a budget deal before then.
In November, retailers added 53,000 jobs, temporary services companies added 18,000 jobs, and education and health care also gained 18,000 jobs.
Auto manufacturers added nearly 10,000 jobs; but overall manufacturing jobs fell 7,000.
The U.S. grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter.