Unemployment Drops to 8.6 Percent

Better than forecast news for Christmas. The unemployment rate fell from an expected 9 percent to 8.6 percent, the lowest in two and a half years. Some 20,000 jobs were shed in government but 120,000 added in retail, leisure, hospitality, professional and business services, and health. That’s not enough to keep pace with population growth (150,000 a month), and we’re way below recovery levels of 500,000 new jobs a month. Millions have spent more than six months looking for work (5,691,000—a slight improvement on October). Meanwhile, the president’s American Jobs Act is stalled in Congress.