The U.S. Labor Department unwrapped some good holiday news this morning-the nation's unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November, a 2-1/2 year low. Non-farm payrolls increased 120,000 last month. As expected, retail accounted for more than a third of all new private-sector jobs, reflecting seasonal help. All of the increase came from the private sector, where employment actually rose 140,000. Government employment fell by 20,000. Public payrolls have dropped in 10 of the past 11 months as state and local governments continued to say goodbye to many workers.
Economists had expected the jobless rate to hold steady at 9 percent. Analysts hadn't expected to drop to an 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent range until late next year. The last time the number dropped by 0.4 percentage point was January.
The current Idaho unemployment rate is 8.8 percent. New state numbers are expected next week.