(CNSNews.com) - The nation's unemployment rate for November dropped again -- this time to 7.7 percent from 7.9 in October.
The Labor Department said 146,000 jobs were created last month. The news came as a surprise to some analysts, who expected disruptions from Superstorm Sandy to produce higher unemployment numbers.
But the Labor Department said its survey response rates were in "normal ranges."
The Labor Department said the participation rate -- the labor force as a percentage of the population -- declined by 0.2 percent, from 63.8 percent to 63.6 percent.
The long-term unemployment rate dropped to 40.1 percent in November, down from October’s level of 40.6 percent of the total unemployed, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.
Long-term unemployment is unemployment lasting for 27 consecutive weeks or longer, according to BLS.
The government reported that 4.8 people were unemployed for more than six months – 27 weeks – below October’s level of approximately 5 million.
In January 2009, when President Obama took office, there were 2.7 million long-term unemployed Americans. By August of that year – after the recession had ended in June – that number had crossed the 5 million mark.
The long-term unemployment rate has not been below 40 percent since December 2009.