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Unemployment rate drops to 7.7% “Unexpectedly”

In today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics employment summary, the Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest in more than 4 years at 7.7% while the labor participation declined to just 63.6%.

The report showed that the economy created just 146,000 jobs. While more than economists had predicted, it is still woefully short of the 250,000 per month that economist believe are needed just to keep up with those entering or re-entering the workforce.

The November report shows a drop of more than 350,000 working Americans which lowered the labor participation rate by .2% to 63.6% reversing a similar gain in October and continuing to remain flat for 2012. In January 2012, the participation rate was 63.7%.

The number of discouraged workers remains unchanged from the same period last year at 979,000 indicating that almost a million Americans have given up on finding work.

More than 8 million Americans are employed only part-time even though they are seeking full-time employment a number that has remain unchanged over the last 12 months.

Most of the employment gains came in the services and retail industries while manufacturing and construction showed large declines.

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