U.S. unemployment rate hits five-year low, eyes on the Fed

U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.0 percent, raising chances the Federal Reserve will start ratcheting back its bond-buying stimulus sooner rather than later. The unemployment rate dropped three tenths of a percentage point to its lowest level since November 2008 as some federal employees who were counted as jobless in October returned to work after a 16-day partial shutdown of the government. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising only 180,000 last month and the unemployment rate falling to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent. In addition, the jobless rate fell even as the participation rate – the share of working-age Americans who either have a job or are looking for one – bounced back from a 35-1/2-year low touched in October.


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