News Column

US Unemployment Dips to Lowest Level in Four Years

December 7, 2012
Jobs Outlook

The US unemployment rate dipped in November to a four-year low of 7.7 per cent, the federal Bureau of Labour Statistics said Friday. Seasonally adjusted, non-farm payrolls expanded by 146,000 in November.

Unemployment had ticked up to 7.9 per cent in October, in data issued four days before the November 6 presidential elections, from 7.8 per cent in September. The rate in November 2011 was 8.7 per cent, slowly easing from a peak near 10 per cent in the wake of the 2007-09 recession.

Job gains were seen in the retail, health care, and professional and business services sectors.

The payroll report exceeded the median estimate of 85,000 jobs from a survey by Bloomberg news of 91 Wall Street economists.

The unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent is the lowest since December 2008 - a month before President Barack Obama took office.

The number of people unable to find work remained stable at about 12 million, based on the government's survey of households. The payroll gains are based on a separate survey of employers.

The number of long-term unemployed - defined as looking for work for more than six months - was little changed at 4.8 million, or about 40 per cent of total unemployed.

Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall on the north-eastern coast of the United States on October 29, "did not substantively impact" national data for November, the Labour Department said. The storm caused serious damage in New York and New Jersey, where coastal communities are still recovering.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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