Construction workers at a Toll Brothers' home in the Azura community in November 2012 in Boca Raton, Fla.(Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Employers added a better-than-expected 146,000 jobs in November,
providing further evidence of an economy that continues to show
resilience despite Superstorm Sandy and budget battles in Washington.
The unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.7% from 7.9%
as 350,000 Americans left the labor force, which includes people working
and looking for work, the Labor Department said.
Businesses added 147,000 workers, while state, local and federal governments cut 1,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the storm "did not substantively impact" employment in the Northeast.
government revised down job gains for September and October by a total
49,000. September's additions were revised from 148,000 to 132,000 and
October's, from 171,000 to 138,000.
forecast of economists estimated that non-farm employers added 87,000
jobs last month, with businesses adding 93,000 and state, local and
federal governments cutting 6,000. Several economists have said the
storm likely reduced job gains by as much as 80,000 to 90,000.
November, monthly payroll increases had averaged 157,000 this year,
with the pace increasing in recent months after slowing in the spring.
More than 150,000 additions each month are generally needed to bring
down the jobless rate.
Business leaders say they've reined
in hiring and investment in recent months because of uncertainty over
the so-called fiscal cliff, the tax increases and spending cuts looming
Jan. 1. Economists say they could set off another recession if they all
take effect. The economic slowdown in Europe has also dampened exports
and revenue in the U.S.
Recent economic reports have been
mixed. Manufacturing activity contracted in November but service
activity picked up, reports this week showed. Rising home prices have
helped buoy consumer confidence and retail sales.