The revisions were made when more complete data from school systems became available, she said, noting a surge of local hiring for education in August and September that tailed off in October.
More surprising than the stronger-than-expected numbers was the drop in the jobless rate to the lowest it's been since December 2008. The White House and many economists no longer think the rate is a statistical anomaly.
"Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.0 percentage point as a result of growing employment, and the labor force participation rate has been essentially unchanged," Alan Krueger, the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a blog posting on the jobs report.
The jobless rate is holding below 8 percent even as the labor force participation rate has averaged 63.7 percent in the past six months. During the same period, the unemployment rate declined from 8.2 percent to 7.7 percent, meaning that the falling jobless rate isn't due simply to a shrinking pool of workers.
"The unemployment data are painting a brighter picture on the economy than any other data series we can think of and, therefore, are out of sync with other indicators and hard to understand," John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros of RDQ Economics wrote in a research note. "Our best take is that the economy is growing at a moderate rate at the end of 2012 despite the uncertainties of the fiscal cliff and the impact of Sandy - a testament to the resiliency of the U.S. economy."
November's job gains were fairly broad, across most sectors. Retailers led the charge, with 52,600 additional hires, followed by professional and business services at 43,000. Leisure and hospitality, a reflection of consumer and business sentiment, rose by 23,000, followed by health care adding 22,000 jobs.
On a down note, however, the hard-hit construction sector shed another 20,000 jobs and manufacturing went negative, too.
"Manufacturers shed 7,000 workers in November, building on the weak economic environment that we have seen since July. The industry has lost 26,000 workers on net in the past four months," Chad Moutray, the chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers, wrote in his Shopfloor.org blog. "Prior to that point, the manufacturing sector had added 172,000 employees in the months of January through July, or 16.3 percent of all of the nonfarm payroll jobs created in the first seven months of the year."
The number of long-term unemployed, people who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, remained stuck around 4.8 million in November, and these Americans account for 40.1 percent of the ranks of the unemployed.
The number of people employed part time who want to work full time, known as involuntary part-time workers, stood unchanged at 8.2 million in November. These are generally workers whose hours have been cut back. There are another 2.5 million people who are considered marginally attached to the workforce, a number that's unchanged from a year before. These are people who aren't in the labor force but are available for work and had looked for jobs sometime in the past 12 months.
"The stronger than expected monthly jobs report for November is good news, but jobs still elude the long-term unemployed and unemployment overall is still hammering millions of Americans," Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement that called for extending unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who are long-term unemployed.
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