U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate drops to 7.7%

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 146,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.”

This is a shockingly good report. The disruptions Hurricane Sandy were expected to have a significant negative impact on these numbers.

Here’s the BLS statement on Hurricane Sandy:

Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Northeast coast on October 29th, causing severe damage in some states. Nevertheless, our survey response rates in the affected states were within normal ranges. Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November. BLS will release the regional and state estimates on December 21st.

We’ll know more when some of the state level data is released.

From the BLS:

Here’s a graph from Calculated Risk that really shows the depth of the recession and choppiness of the recovery: