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The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, the lowest number since President Bush was in office in 2008.

According to the report released by the Labor Department, Friday (Dec. 7), roughly 146,000 jobs were created in the month of November, in spite of Hurricane Sandy whose destruction halted economic activity. The modest numbers are a step in the right direction, as analysts expected for the figure to be around 8 percent, with job growth below 90,000.

Heavy hiring in retail, ahead of the holiday shopping season, helped the numbers swell. With clothing stores as the frontrunners in the hiring race, retailers added 53,000 jobs to the work force, yet manufacturing jobs decreased by 7,000 in the last month.

Unfortunately the low unemployment rate is not all based on job creation. The rate dip is also attributed to Americans who have given up the search for work. As a result, the number of people saying that they are employed decreased by 122,000.

In short, the labor force is growing at a steady pace, but the new figures are far from an economic surge. “It looks like the job market is holding firm,” said chief economist for Mood’s Analytics, Mark Zandi.. “That’s encouraging in light of the fiscal uncertainties.”

The aforementioned “uncertainties” are the looming fiscal cliff which President Obama is willing to go over if an agreement cannot be reached over raising tax rates on those making $250,000 or more.


Photo: Getty