The unemployment rate in the U.S. fell to 8.6% in November, the lowest since March 2009, and down from 9.0% in October. The Labor Department reported that employers added 120,000 jobs in November.
The news is not all positive, though. While many people found jobs in November, many also withdrew from the labor force, especially women. The unemployment rate for men over 20 fell to 8.3% from 8.8% in October, but women saw a much smaller decrease as many simply gave up searching for jobs. Private sector employers added 140,000 jobs in November, while government continued recent trends and cut 20,000 jobs. Retail employers alone added 50,000 jobs during the month.
Less than one-third of jobs lost since the recession started in 2007 have been recovered. 13.3 million Americans are still unemployed and 43% of those have been for over six months. However, the drop in unemployment is certainly a move in the right direction. Whether or not job growth continues after the holiday season is a key factor to watch closely.