U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops Again, Now At 7.7%

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, pushing the unemployment down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This is the lowest the national unemployment rate has been in four years, and the numbers were better than analysts expected.

While Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage in some Northeast states, including New Jersey, the federal agency found that it did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.

Job growth alone did not account for the unemployment rate decrease – fewer people were looking for work. The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 63.6 percent in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October.

The federal government still counts 12 million people as unemployed, little changed from October. Of those, 4.8 million are considered long-term unemployed because they have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Another 8.2 million people are considered involuntary part-time workers because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In November, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.8 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent) showed little or no change in November. The unemployment rate for blacks (13.2 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

Job growth estimates for September were revised downward from +148,000 to +132,000, while the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.

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