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Strongest Employment Report in Two Years Shows Significant Drop in Jobs Lost

The U.S. economy lost only 11,000 jobs in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, an unexpectedly positive sign that the nation's employers have begun creating jobs again. The monthly unemployment rate fell to 10.0 percent, an improvement from the 10.2 percent rate in October. The Labor Department also adjusted its figures on job losses for September -- showing 139,000 jobs lost rather than 219,000 -- and October -- revised to 111,000 jobs lost rather than 190,000. Employment rose by 86,000 in business and professional services, with temporary help accounting for 52,000 of those jobs; healthcare gained 21,000 jobs. Job losses were still deep in manufacturing, with 41,000 cuts, and construction, with 27,000. Experts are cautiously optimistic about the numbers. "It is clearly a much better picture, and appears to be mostly genuine," says Nigel Gault, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, quoted in The New York Times. "It shows employers have come back so much and are starting to rehire." Allen L. Sinai, founder of Decision Economics, is less enthusiastic. "It is like a patient after having collapsed with a heart attack sitting up and taking a breath -- nothing more than that," he says, also quoted in The Times. "Things are getting better, but a one-month respite, frankly, means nothing in the context of the worst labor market ever seen since the 1930s." The full Labor Department report is available here.

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