» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 126 | NO. 236 | Monday, December 05, 2011

Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Since March 2009

CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER | AP Economics Writer

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

WASHINGTON (AP) – Small businesses and startups that were skittish about the economy this summer started hiring in bigger numbers this fall, helping drive the unemployment rate down to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest in two and a half years.

The country added 120,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row – the first time that has happened since April 2006, long before the Great Recession set in.

“Something good is stirring in the U.S. economy,” Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients.

The unemployment report, one of the most closely watched economic indicators, showed that September and October were stronger months than first estimated. For four months in a row, the government has revised job growth figures higher.

Unemployment was 9 percent in October and has been stuck near or above that level for two and a half years. The last time unemployment was this low was March 2009, two months after President Barack Obama took office.

The government uses a survey of mostly large companies and government agencies to determine how many jobs were added or lost each month. It uses a separate survey of households to determine the unemployment rate.

The household survey picks up hiring by companies of all sizes, including small businesses and startups. It has shown an average of 321,000 jobs created per month since July, compared with an average of 13,000 the first seven months of the year.

When the economy is improving or slipping into recession, many economists say, the household survey does the better job of picking up the shift because it is more likely to detect small business hiring.

The unemployment report was the latest encouraging indicator for the economy. Other reports this week have shown that factories are producing more, construction is growing, and people are buying more cars.

And Americans spent a record $52.4 billion over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group. A separate report from MasterCard found spending was up almost 9 percent from last year.

In the United States, about 13.3 million people are counted as unemployed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 87 87 14,804
MORTGAGES 80 80 19,410
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 22 3,817
BUILDING PERMITS 142 142 35,472
BANKRUPTCIES 62 62 14,096
BUSINESS LICENSES 62 62 5,053
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 99 99 21,532
MARRIAGE LICENSES 37 37 4,594

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.