CHICAGO — THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE for November fell to 7.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marking its lowest point since February 2009. Unemployment has slowly but steadily declined during 2012, which began with the unemployment rate at 8.3%. Approximately 146,000 new jobs were added to the economy in November.
Meanwhile, uncertainty over the federal budget and the so-called “fiscal cliff” colored many economic factors during the last two months of 2012.
ACCORDING TO THE BEIGE BOOK, seven of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts noted modest growth before the middle of November. Two districts—St. Louis and Minneapolis—reported a stronger increase in economic activity, while Boston indicated a slower rate. The New York district’s figures were disrupted in late October and through November by Hurricane Sandy, and Philadelphia’s figures were somewhat affected by the storm.