In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 photo, a couple shops for groceries by flashlight in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York, following a loss of power due to Superstorm Sandy. The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, the Labor Department announced Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
WASHINGTON (AP) — It takes more than a superstorm to derail the U.S. job market.
Employers added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent, a four-year low, the government said Friday.
Though modest, the job growth was encouraging because it defied disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and employers’ concerns about impending tax increases from the year-end “fiscal cliff.”
Analysts said the job market’s underlying strength suggests that if the White House and Congress can reach a budget deal to avoid the cliff, hiring and economic growth could accelerate next year.
A budget agreement would coincide with gains in key sectors of the economy.
Builders are breaking ground on more homes, which should increase construction hiring. U.S. automakers just enjoyed their best sales month in nearly five years. And a resolution of the fiscal cliff could lead businesses to buy more industrial machinery and other heavy equipment. That would generate more manufacturing jobs.
“The ground is being prepared for faster growth,” said Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight.
House GOP leader John Boehner said Friday that the two sides had made little Login to read more