A drop in the November unemployment rate provided a glimmer of hope that the unrelentingly bleak job market may be headed for a turnaround.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent last month, from 10.2 percent in October, as employers cut the fewest number of jobs since the recession began. The average work week and earnings also rose in November, the Labor Department reported.
The economy shed 11,000 jobs last month, an improvement from October’s revised total of 111,000 lost jobs, and significantly better than the 130,000 Wall Street economists had expected in November, said the Associated Press.
Economists say that substantial job growth is needed to make a dent in the unemployment rate. According to the Labor Department, 15.4 million unemployed people are seeking work, and 11.5 million others are working part-time but want full-time jobs or have given up job hunting altogether.
In a troubling sign for small businesses, a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business showed more small companies plan to reduce employment in the next three months than plan to add jobs, said the AP.
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