Saturday, December 8, 2012

US 'unemployment rate' drops to 4-year low of 7.7 percent as 'people stop looking for jobs'

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to its lowest since December 2008 at 7.7 percent, primarily because more people stopped looking for work.

US Labor Department said that hiring remained steady during the storm Sandy and in the face of looming tax increases. But the government said employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than it initially estimated.

Latino jobless numbers held steady at 10 percent, after dropping slightly in September, from 11.4 to 9.9 percent.

It said that the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed, the New York Daily News reports.

The report "is something of a mixed bag but, on balance, it's a positive," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

According to the report, Sandy's effect on the figures was much smaller many analysts had predicted. The government noted that as long as employees worked at least one day during a pay period - two weeks for most people - its survey would have counted them as employed.

Still, there were signs that the storm disrupted economic activity. Construction employment dropped 20,000. And weather prevented 369,000 people from getting to work, the report said.
Ashworth also said that while there is "no obvious impact from the looming fiscal cliff yet, it could still have a greater effect on December's figures."

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