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US jobless rate hits a five-year low

Unemployment in the US has fallen to 7 percent, a five-year low, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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US job growth was tepid in August but the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3 percent, the Labor Department reported on September 6, 2013. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

The US jobless rate has fallen to seven percent, a five-year-low that has prompted many economists to carefully watch the Federal Reserve's plans for its bond-buying stimulus. 

According to a statement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US unemployment rate dipped from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in the month of November, with total non-farm payroll employment growing 203,000.

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The number of unemployed people who reported they suffered from a temporary layoff decreased by 377,000 persons, largely due to the end of the October partial government shutdown. 

Employment rates increased particularly in transportation and warehousing, health care, and the manufacturing sector. The jobless rate is the lowest that the nation has seen since November 2008. 

"The decline pushes the jobless rate down to its lowest since November 2008 and closer towards the Fed's threshold of 6.5%, which it wants to see breached before it considers tightening policy via higher interest rates," said chief economist at Markit Chris Williamson to the BBC, adding that it was unclear when the Fed might begin its tapering of the stimulus program. 

According to Reuters, the numbers are heartening but it is unlikely that the Fed will want to change the stimulus plan before lawmakers come to an agreement on funding the government — which could come as soon as next week if all goes well. 

"I don't think the Fed is in a big rush to do anything drastic in the absence of inflation," said Michael Marrale, a managing director at ITG in New York to Reuters sources. "A few strong jobs numbers does not mean we are out of the woods."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/131206/us-jobless-rate-hits-five-year-low