(CN) – U.S. employers added 178,000 jobs in November, up from 142,000 in October, and the solid gains pushed the national unemployment rate down to 4.6 percent. In October it had been 4.9 percent.
Analysts had predicted the creation of about 170,000 jobs, an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey.
The number of unemployed fell last month by 387,000 to 7.4 million — a nine-year low — but only about a third of that drop occurred because people found work. The rest of the drop is attributed to the large number of people have stopped looking for jobs and are no longer counted.
Still, Friday’s report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that President-election Trump will inherit a steadily-growing job market from the Obama administration when he takes office Jan 20.
Overall, the U.S. economy has added an average of 180,000 jobs a month in 2016. And those gains have been reflected in other measures of economic activity.
For instance, Americans bought homes in October at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, and solid consumer spending helped propel growth to a 3.2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the best showing in two years.
Finally, according to the Conference Board, Americans are more confident in the economy than at any other point in the past nine years.