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Unemployment Rate Drops To Lowest Since 2007

The unemployment rate in the U.S. has unexpectedly dropped to 4.6 percent, the lowest it has been since August 2007, according to government data released on Dec. 2.

Economists were surprised by the drop in the unemployment rate in November, expecting the rate to remain at 4.9 percent from October.

"The trend in employment growth remains more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down," Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics said, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Many have pointed out the major differences in the economy President Barack Obama inherited and the economy his administration will leave behind.

"It is hard to imagine a more stark contrast between the economy that we are passing off to our successor and the economy we inherited," Christopher Lu, the Labor Department's deputy secretary, said.

The combination of the creation of new jobs and people retiring or leaving the work force contributed to the unemployment rate's decline.

Roughly 446,000 Americans left the workforce in November, bringing the labor force participation to 62.7 percent in from 62.8 percent in October.

“The drop in unemployment is statistically significant, unusually, but we’d still treat it with caution,” said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics. “The labor force jumped sharply in the third quarter, but the increases always looked unsustainable and now appear to be reversing, at least in part.”

In November, the U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs. Private payrolls were largely responsible for the growth in November, with 156,000 jobs being added.

Sources: Yahoo! FinanceThe Washington Post / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr 

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