(WASHINGTON) — The economy generated 146,000 new jobs in November and unemployment fell to 7.7 percent, better than economists expected, despite worries that superstorm Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff would dampen hiring.
There are still 12 million people unemployed in the country, but the Labor Department said Sandy did not “substantively impact” employment.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics dialed back job gains for the previous two months. In October, the U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs, not the 171,000 reported before the election. The jobs added in September were also revised downward to 132,000 from 148,000.
The White House said Friday that the report reveals an economy “continuing to heal” from the recession and underscores the importance of extending current tax rates for middle-income Americans. Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a blog post that the president’s proposal for additional stimulus spending would further boost hiring in hard-hit sectors.
House Speaker John Boehner said that Democrats’ “slow-walk” strategy, as far as the fiscal cliff is concerned, is a threat to the economy.
“Republicans have offered a balanced proposal to avert the cliff that includes spending cuts and tax reforms the president once supported; the White House has only offered a joke that couldn’t pass the House or the Senate,” he said. “Republicans passed bipartisan legislation stopping the tax hikes and replacing the defense sequester to avert the fiscal cliff; Senate Democrats talked openly about driving off of it. And while the president insists on raising small businesses’ tax rates instead of cutting spending, small business hiring plans have plummeted. That takes jobs away from the American people at the very time small businesses are struggling to create them.”
“The Democrats’ slow-walk strategy is unfair to taxpayers, unfair to small businesses, and unfair to all those looking for work. If the president doesn’t like our plan, he has an obligation to send us one that can pass both houses of Congress as quickly as possible. We’re ready and eager to work with him on such a proposal,” he continued.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Dakin Andone, CNN
Azadeh Ansari and Angela Dewan, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN