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US Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2008

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to 7 percent, its lowest point in five years.

The government said Friday that employers added another 203,000 workers to their payrolls in November - more than some economists predicted, and a sign that the world's largest economy is continuing to steadily recover from the steep recession in 2008.

October's jobless rate was 7.3 percent, but the government said employment picked up last month in transportation and warehousing, health care and manufacturing. In addition, several hundred thousand federal workers temporarily furloughed during a partial government shutdown in October returned to work.

The government said there are now 10.9 million unemployed workers in the U.S., also the lowest figure since 2008.

One economic analyst, Patrick Socci, dean of the business school at Hofstra University in New York, says he expects continued U.S. job growth of about 200,000 a month during the next several months.



"I think it's going to stay relatively flat six months from now because we'll be nearing mid-term (congressional) elections. Campaigns will be swinging into action, which means there will be a lot of negativity in the air. I think that will dampen corporate expectations and also consumer confidence."



However, Socci added that job-growth figures could dip if lawmakers in Washington continue to put off resolution of major U.S. financial issues, such as balancing the government's budget and cutting the country's long-term debt.

The U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been directly supporting the country's economy with the monthly purchase of $85 billion worth of securities. It is an effort aimed at keeping interest rates low and boosting job growth.

As the U.S. economy advances slowly but steadily, Fed policy makers have for several months been weighing whether to trim the purchases. But so far the Fed has kept its stimulus measures in place, waiting for more favorable signs that the American is advancing at a faster pace.

With the November dip in the jobless rate and continued job growth, the Fed could now begin to cut back on the asset purchases. The policy makers are set to meet again in two weeks.

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