In November, the unemployment rate fell by more than four percent to reach seven percent—the lowest rate in five years, which could mean the Federal Reserve will taper off its bond-buying program.
The economy added 203,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, with employment increases in transportation and warehousing, healthcare and manufacturing.
Both the number of unemployed people and the unemployment rate declined in November, and of the unemployed, the number who reported being laid off fell by 377,000—due largely to the return of federal workers who were furloughed during the government shutdown in October.
“We think the chance of tapering this month has risen, but on balance we expect the Fed to wait a bit longer,” Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said, according to The New York Times.
Economists surveyed before the release of the jobs report forecast an increase of 185,000 jobs, with unemployment falling by 0.1 percent to 7.2 percent.
“While the decline in the rate might be overstated, there is nothing here not to like,” Gus Faucher, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group, said, The New York Times reports. “It is strong across the board.”
The numbers could indicate that the Federal Reserve may ease its stimulus efforts, a move expected in September, though the central bank delayed the move amid mixed economic data.