The U.S. economy added a solid 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 report 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 from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed.
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. They were still counted as employed.
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