UPDATE: US Unemployment Falls to 7 Percent on 203K Jobs Added

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON The U.S. job market is proving sturdier than many thought.

The government reports that solid job growth in November cut the U.S. unemployment rate to 7 percent, a five-year low. The Labor Department says employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October.

The economy has now added a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, up from 159,000 a month from April through July.

Many of the November job gains were in higher-paying industries. Manufacturers added 27,000 positions, the most since March 2012. Construction firms gained 17,000.

The strengthening job market is likely to fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve may start to scale back its bond purchases when it meets later this month.

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