Newly released figures show job growth in the United States sped up in November, with fewer negative effects from superstorm Sandy than had been feared.
A total of 146,000 jobs were added last month, still well below the 200,000 to 250,000 that economists say are needed each month to really make headway.
At the same time, the jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent of the workforce, which is close to the lowest level in four years.
But analysts said that was largely because so many Americans had given up looking for work.
President Obama’s chief economist Alan Krueger said the drop in the jobless rate was proof that the US economy is healing from recession but that much work remains to be done.
The latest payroll numbers are not expected to have much impact on US Federal Reserve policymakers, who meet next Tuesday and Wednesday.