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Unemployment rate falls to 7.7%

By By Annalyn Kurtz
Published On: Dec 07 2012 07:34:22 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 07 2012 08:21:36 AM CST
Job fair, job fair line

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -

Modest hiring continued in November and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly four years, according to a report released Friday.

The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in October, the Labor Department said. That's the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected a far weaker report, factoring in distortions from Superstorm Sandy. Despite the storm, the Labor Department said its survey response rates were in normal ranges.

"Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November," the Labor Department said in a press release.

The Labor Department typically revises its jobs numbers several times. In Friday's report, job growth was revised lower in both September and October, subtracting 49,000 jobs from the 2012 total.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected employers to add 77,000 positions. Stock futures turned higher after the report was released.