Employers nationwide added 146,000 jobs last month, more than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and following a revised 138,000 gain in October, Labor Department data showed on Dec. 7. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent as the labor force shrank.
While the Labor Department said on Dec. 7 that Sandy didn’t “substantively impact” the data, its poll of households showed that 369,000 people were not at work because of bad weather during the survey week. The average of the last 10 Novembers was 70,000 in the survey, which is used to calculate the jobless rate.
While New Jersey showed a drop in payrolls, the state’s jobless rate dropped to 9.6 percent from 9.7 percent in the prior month.
New York’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent from 8.7 percent in October.
In addition to New York and New Jersey, Indiana showed a 9,100 decrease in employment last month, the report showed.
State and local employment data are derived independently from the national statistics, which are typically released on the first Friday of every month. The state figures are subject to larger sampling errors because they come from smaller surveys, making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Federal Reserve on Dec. 12 said it will expand stimulus to spur growth. It also for the first time linked its interest- rate outlook to economic thresholds, saying rates will stay low “at least as long” as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent and if it projects inflation of no more than 2.5 percent one or two years in the future. Fed officials don’t see the jobless rate falling near that goal until 2015.