Jobless rate drops to 8.6% in November
The surprising drop in November’s unemployment rate to 8.6 percent overshadowed what may be a more significant positive trend: a sharp upturn in hiring by the nation’s small businesses.
Overall, U.S. employers added 120,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate fell sharply from 9 percent, the Labor Department said in a report that brought holiday cheer.
Private-sector employers added 140,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its survey of non-farm payrolls, but the net job gain was dragged down by 20,000 government jobs lost at federal, state and local levels.
The BLS also revised the September job estimates sharply upward from the original 158,000 to 210,000, a strong number. October’s estimate of 80,000 jobs gained also was revised up, by 20,000.
“The job market is firming at year’s end. Job growth has picked up in recent months, particularly among smaller businesses. The employment gains also have broadened out across industries from retailing to manufacturing,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist for forecaster Moody’s Analytics.