United States: Unemployment rate falls to lowest level in almost four years
December 7, 2012
In November, non-farm payrolls advanced by 146,000, which is up from the revised 138,000 increase observed in October (previously reported: 171,000 jobs). In addition, the figure widely exceeded market expectations, which had anticipated payrolls rising by only 80,000.
The private sector was entirely responsible for new hiring by adding 147,000 jobs, with retail trade as well as professional business services recording the largest gains. The public sector, on the other hand, shed 1,000 jobs, following the negative trend seen throughout most of the past two years.
The monthly figure marks the 26th consecutive month with gains in non-farm payrolls and the U.S. economy has now recovered 4.6 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough of the crisis in the labour market. That said, despite the improvement seen in the past two years, the economy still remains 4.2 million jobs below the peak reached in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate - which derives from a different survey - fell from 7.9% in October to 7.7% in November, its lowest level since December 2008. That said, the improved figure mainly reflected a decline in the overall labour force, as the level of employed workers also fell over the previous month, but at a lesser pace.