Jobs Report Provides Holiday Surprise

By Toni Vranjes

December 4, 2009

In news that brightens the holiday season for the Obama administration, the unemployment rate dropped slightly in November, and the economy lost far fewer jobs than expected.

Unemployment fell from 10.2 percent to 10 percent, the Labor Department reported today. Employers cut 11,000 jobs, the smallest loss since December 2007.

In a speech today in Allentown, Pa., President Obama said the numbers are “modestly encouraging.”

“Overall this is the best jobs report that we’ve seen since 2007,” Obama said. “And this is good news, just in time for the season of hope. But I do want to keep this in perspective. We’ve still got a long way to go.”

The report provides a lot of welcome news, including a rise in the average workweek and a jump in temporary employment, according to economic forecaster Nigel Gault.

Gault, the chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, expected the economy to lose 150,000 jobs in November.

“Compared to expectations, it’s clearly very good news,” he says.

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