U.S. employers added a bigger-than-expected 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 7.7 percent, the Labor Department said.
- Economists surveyed by Reuters expected payrolls to grow by 93,000 last month and the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.9 percent. Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and has been slowly declining since.
- November’s jobs growth exceeded October's 138,000 gain.
- Despite economists' expectations that the report might be skewed by superstorm Sandy, the Labor Department said it "did not substantively impact" the figures.
- The strength in jobs growth shows the economy is so far weathering concerns over the year-end “fiscal cliff,” a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that will occur if Congress fails to act.