U.S. unemployment drops from 7.9 to 7.7 percent in November, marking the lowest point in nearly four years, reports the Washington Times. In spite of the impact of Superstorm Sandy, which some economists anticipated to be very hard on regional economies, businesses added about 146,000 jobs last month, based on the Labor Department’s report. Employment gains have averaged 151,000 per month in 2012.
Holiday shopping has certainly boosted retail jobs, as expected. Computer systems design and information and leisure industries also posted gains. Manufacturing, construction, and government, however, showed drops in employment. The average hourly wage increased by 1.7 percent over the last year, and the average work week remained the same at 34.4 hours.
While the overall employment gain is positive, economists are still wary of the fiscal cliff, reports the New York Times. Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says that continued growth in the labor market depends on the resolution of the budget impasse. With two weeks left until the new year, time will soon tell how Congress will manage the budget.