The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

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From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.

The Labor Department's report on Friday offered a mixed picture for the economy.

Hiring remained steady during the storm and in the face of looming tax increases. But the government said employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than initially estimated.

And 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.

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 most in almost two years. They were still counted as employed.

Stock futures jumped after the report. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 20 points in the minutes before the report came out at 8:30 a.m., and just after were up 70 points.

As money moved into stocks, it moved out of safer bonds. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which moves opposite the price, rose to 1.63 percent from 1.58 percent just before the report.
Since July, the economy has added an average of 158,000 jobs a month. That's a modest pickup from 146,000 in the first six months of the year.

The increase suggests employers are not yet delaying hiring decisions because of the "fiscal cliff." That's the combination of sharp tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect next year without a budget deal.

Retailers added 53,000 positions while temporary help companies added 18,000 and education and health care also gained 18,000.

Auto manufacturers added nearly 10,000 jobs.

Still, overall manufacturing jobs fell 7,000. That was pushed down by a loss of 12,000 jobs in food manufacturing that likely reflects the layoff of workers at Hostess.

Sandy forced restaurants, retailers and other businesses to close in late October and early November in 24 states, particularly in the Northeast.

The U.S. grew at a solid 2.7 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. But many economists say growth is slowing to a 1.5 percent rate in the October-December quarter, largely because of the storm and threat of the fiscal cliff. That's not enough growth to lower the unemployment rate.

The storm held back consumer spending and income, which drive economic growth. Consumer spending declined in October and work interruptions caused by Sandy reduced wages and salaries that month by about $18 billion at an annual rate, the government said.

Still, many say economic growth could accelerate next year if the fiscal cliff is avoided. The economy is also expected to get a boost from efforts to rebuild in the Northeast after the storm.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 10. Banquet Server

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $5.70 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $13.70 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 42 percent

  • 9. Tattoo Artist

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $6.10 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $27.50 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 18 percent

  • 8. Waiter/Waitress

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $7.00 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $11.20 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 63 percent

  • 7. Casino Shift Manager

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $7.50 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $24.90 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 30 percent

  • 6. Bar Manager

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $7.60 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $19.00 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 40 percent

  • 5. Banquet Captain

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $7.70 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $16.50 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 47 percent

  • 4. Sommelier

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $7.80 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $23.50 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 33 percent

  • 3. Butler

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $8.50 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $29.30 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 29 percent

  • 2. Bartender

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $9.60 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $17.40 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 55 percent

  • 1. Gaming Dealer

    <strong>Median hourly tips:</strong> $12.40 <strong>Typical total hourly income:</strong> $19.60 <strong>Percent of total hourly income from tips:</strong> 63 percent

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The economy shed 20,000 jobs in construction, 7,000 jobs in manufacturing, 18,000 jobs in nondurable goods, and 1,000 jobs in government, according to the new jobs report. All other industries added jobs.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From Arthur Delaney, The Huffington Post's unemployment reporter:

@ ArthurDelaneyHP : 1.7 million out of work 99 weeks or longer, down from 2 million in November 2011

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist at Nomura, via Business Insider:

The unemployment rate did decline in November, but for the "wrong" reasons as US households reported job losses and the labor force shrank.

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@ ObsoleteDogma : Not in the labor force but want a job now up 312k the past year.

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From Justin Lahart, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal:

@ jdlahart : 1075k workers worked part time, rather than full time, because of bad weather (typical November that number is about 200k)

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From Ben Casselman, economics reporter at The Wall Street Journal:

@ bencasselman : 2.2 million unemployed workers (17.5% of total) found jobs in November. Meanwhile 1.9mm employed workers became unemployed.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From a new research note from Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics:

Looking at the breakdown, retail employment is absolutely soaring, increasing by more than 50,000 in each of the past two months. Temporary help also enjoyed some solid gains in October and November.... Overall, no obvious impact from the looming fiscal cliff yet, but it could still have a greater effect on December's figures.

Retail and temporary help jobs do not pay well. The median pay for a retail worker in 2010 was $20,990 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ ObsoleteDogma : Stay in school kids. Unemployment rate for college degree or higher: 3.8 percent.

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The Nobel Prize-winning economist wrote this in a New York Times blog post at 8:42 a.m. that was not about the jobs report, but it seems relevant all the same, since economic growth is key to job growth.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ MatthewPhillips : "Participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 63.6 percent in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October."

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@ AnnalynKurtz : Don't celebrate the 7.7%! Unemployment rate fell for the wrong reasons. Labor force fell and fewer people said they had jobs

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From Quartz News:

@ quartznews : Here you go: the complete US jobs report in two simple charts http://t.co/YepDCIOS

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ MatthewPhillips : Strong retail job numbers. Americans are shopping. Here's why: http://t.co/4iEXzX8D

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From Timothy Aeppel, the New York economics bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal:

@ TimAeppel : Job market still has long way to go: Long-term unemployed (jobless 27 wks or more) little changed in Nov--stuck @ 4.8 million.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From Annalyn Kurtz, economics reporter at CNNMoney:

@ AnnalynKurtz : What happened to the housing recovery? Construction cuts 20,000 jobs in November

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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From Joe Weisenthal, deputy editor of Business Insider:

@ TheStalwart : And Asian unemployment supposedly jumped from 4.9% to 6.4%. Just way too volatile each month to read into.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ joebrusuelas : Positive underlying trend in hiring remains, but low wage bias in hiring remains. Policy shift to address labor market needed. #EcoBrief $$

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From Joe Brusuelas, senior economist at Bloomberg LP:

@ joebrusuelas : The 4 low wage subsectors-retail, leisure & hospitality, temps, healthcare & social assistance accoutned for 57% of all hiring. #EcoBrief $$

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ DKThomp : In light of the 'cane and the cliff, a perfectly-average jobs report is better-than-average news for the economy

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@ justinwolfers : The BLS argues that Sandy had no impact. But be careful: I think they're saying that it didn't hurt response rates, not that it didn't hurt.

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@ joebrusuelas : BLS says no substantive impact due to Hurricane. Labor market increases near 12 month trend. Very solid jobs report. Expect revsions. $$

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@ BetseyStevenson : Report suggests nothing much has changed, the recovery continues at a similar pace. But would hiring be higher w/out looming fiscal cliff?

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@ thinkprogress : Unemployment rate of 7.7% is lowest since December 2008

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@ AnnalynKurtz : BLS: Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November

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@ davidmwessel : September jobs revised +132,000 from previous 148,000

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You can check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' full release here. This is a surprise, given that economists on average forecast that only 85,000 jobs would be added because Hurricane Sandy disrupted hiring and deprived some people of work.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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@ justinwolfers : To figure out the underlying pace of jobs growth: 1. Wait for next month's report; 2. Compare to last month's; 3. Divide by 2.

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@ Neil_Irwin : Two minutes to go for jobs report. Bloomberg consensus now +85k jobs.

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@ adamshersh : Jobs day prediction: Republicans will blame POTUS for low job growth.

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The Wall Street Journal's Phil Izzo declares that this is the least important BLS jobs report in 5 years. This is largely because there will be a lot of noise in the jobs report thanks to Hurricane Sandy, he writes. Moreover, the presidential election is over, and investors are more worried about the fiscal cliff negotiations right now. You can check out Izzo's full take here.

--Bonnie Kavoussi

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