Listen Up Fed: Umployment Dropped to 5-Year Low

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Those economists who expected the labor market recovery to take giant steps toward the end of the year were correct. On Friday, the jobs report released by Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics provided evidence to support the recovery narrative. United States employers added 203,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, beating expectations for a 180,000-job gain.

That improvement made November the fourth straight month of solid hiring, helping the unemployment rate to fall 0.3 percentage point to 7 percent — a five year low. Now, including the downward revision of October job growth to 200,000 from 204,000, the U.S. economy added an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, an increase from the 159,000 per month added between April and July.

“The labor market continues to improve,” Societe Generale economist Brian Jones told Bloomberg before Thursday’s jobless claims report was released “Not only is the rate of layoffs slowing precipitously, more people are finding work.” He made similar comments after ADP’s National Employment report was published earlier this week, noting that his firm was “optimistic on growth next year, continued improvement, further reductions in the jobless rate.” Both reports hinted at a strong November; the payroll processor announced employers added 215,000 workers to their payrolls in November, the strongest month for job growth in 2013, while initial claims for unemployment benefits — a proxy for layoffs — dropped to a two-month low.

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