News Local/State

Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.6 Percent, Lowest Level Since 2007

A now hiring sign at a job fair in Florida.

A "now hiring" sign is seen at the Toys R Us booth during the JobNewsUSA job fair at the BB&T Center on Nov. 15 in Sunrise, Fla Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 4.6 percent, last month — the lowest rate since 2007 — according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report says the U.S. added 178,000 new jobs in November.

That's about what economists had expected. They'd been predicting some 180,000 new jobs last month, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports — almost exactly the average monthly growth for the year so far.

But the drop in unemployment was a surprise — economists thought it would hold steady at 4.9 percent.

The BLS notes that the unemployment rate had shown little movement from August 2015 through October 2016.

The drop in unemployment was driven by adult men, while the rates for women and teenagers didn't show much or any change.

Average hourly earnings dropped by 3 cents, after seeing an 11-cent rise in October. Economists had been watching to see if the relatively low unemployment rate would be pushing employers to raise wages, Yuki Noguchi reports.

"In previous years, wage gains have been stagnant," Yuki told our Newscast unit. "But in October, wages increased at their fastest pace since the end of the recession — 2.8 percent."

That trend did not continue in November, although the BLS notes that over the course of the year, wages have still increased by 2.5 percent.