The U.S. Department of Labor released the November 2011 unemployment report this morning and the rate dropped to 8.6 percent, the lowest level the nation has seen since March 2009. The .4 percent one-month drop can be attributed to both the addition of 120,000 new jobs during the month as well as to individuals leaving the job market for a variety of reasons.
The retail industry was responsible for 50,000 new jobs in November with more than half of those jobs being created in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+27,000). Gains were also seen in the following industries:
- Professional and business services (+33,000)
- Leisure and hospitality (+22,000)
- Health care (+17,000)
Unfortunately the government sector continued to post job losses with a decline of 5,000 positions in the U.S. Postal Service alone.
While the 8.6 percent unemployment rate looks like a significant improvement over last month, the overall employment situation really hasn’t changed much. There are still 13.3 million people unemployed and 5.7 million of these have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. This figure remains relatively unchanged.