U.S. adds 146,000 jobs in Nov.; unemployment 7.7%
By Jeffry Bartash
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%, the lowest level since December 2008, the Labor Department said Friday. Hurricane Sandy appeared to have little effect on hiring and employment last month, the government said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected an increase of just 80,000 jobs because of the disruption caused by the storm. The unemployment rate was projected to hold steady at 7.9%. It fell mainly because 350,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Employment gains for October and September, meanwhile, were revised somewhat lower. The number of new jobs created in October was revised down to 138,000 from 171,000, while September's figure was revised down to 132,000 from 148,000. The biggest increase in hiring in November occurred in retail, professional services and leisure and hospitality. The construction and manufacturing sectors reduced employment. Average hourly wages rose 4 cents to $23.63 in November while the average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours.