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 in November, the Labor Department said today. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row — the first time that has happened since April 2006, well before the Great Recession.
"Something good is stirring in the U.S. economy," Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients.
The stock market opened higher after the unemployment report came out. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 32 points, good for a weekly gain of 820 points. The only bigger point gain in one week was in October 2008.
The 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 for previous months.