The U.S. jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7 percent in November. This morning's New York Times reports that the better job picture increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve "will begin easing its stimulus efforts sooner, rather than later."
The U.S. Labor Department said this morning that nonfarm payrolls increased by 203,000 new jobs last month, dropping the unemployment rate three-tenths of a percentage point to its lowest level since November 2008.
Additionally, job gains for September and October have been revised to show 8,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
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.
The unemployment rate has fallen nearly a full percentage point since the Fed began buying bonds in Sept. 2012 and hit 7 percent earlier than most analysts expected. In June, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed would end its purchases when the rate had reached 7 percent. Bernanke later backed away from that specific target in September, saying many measures will go into the decision.