The U.S. Department of Labor just released the November jobs numbers, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, down from 7.9% in October. That's a four-year low, but there are caveats!
The economy added 146,000 jobs, while economists had expected it to only add 89,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said, "Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Northeast coast on October 29th, causing severe damage in some states. Nevertheless, our survey response rates in the affected states were within normal ranges. Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."
However, the NY Times reports, "Still, November’s net growth in payrolls was below the average of 170,000 new jobs added monthly over the course of August, September and October. 'The labor market is very much in the recovery stage,' said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, before the announcement. However, he added, 'It’s a long way from full health with workers having little negotiating power when it comes to raises.'"
Plus, as the Wall Street Journal points out, "While November's rise in employment was well ahead of expectations, it followed sharp downward revisions to the prior two months. October's nonfarm payrolls rose 138,000, versus the initially reported 171,000, and September was up 132,000, not 148,000. The lower unemployment rate, meanwhile, largely reflects people leaving the work force."