US unemployment rate drops to 5-year low

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The United States unemployment rate fell in November to a five-year low of 7 percent, beating economists’ expectations.

The jobless rate dropped by 0.3 percent on the previous month to its lowest level since November 2008.

Nonfarm payrolls data released by the US Labor Department revealed an increase of 203,000 new jobs last month.

The monthly drop in unemployment was also helped by the return to work of federal workers counted as jobless in October, during the 16-day partial shutdown of the US government.

The stronger-than-expected reading data on job growth in November has led to speculation that the US Federal Reserve (Fed) might begin to scale back its economic stimulus program.

Some economists, however, believe that the Fed will wait for further signs of progress before implementing a policy change.