Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6%

Labor market makes modest progress, with payrolls up 120,000 in November.

Unemployment in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in November to a two-year low, while employers added fewer workers than projected and earnings eased, indicating the labor market is making limited progress.

The jobless rate declined to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009, from 9 percent, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Payrolls climbed 120,000, with more than half the hiring coming from retailers and temporary help agencies, after a revised 100,000 rise in October. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 125,000 gain.

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