WASHINGTON - A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate.
It also fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus when it meets later this month.
Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. November’s job gain helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in October.
The economy has now generated a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That’s up from 159,000 a month from April through July.