New numbers show the U.S. economy continues to make a slow but steady turn for the better.
November data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows improvements: 203,000 jobs were created, and the unemployment rate is now at a five-year low of 7 percent. That's down from 7.3 percent in October. (Via YNN)
And the payroll gain is 23,000 more jobs than economists expected for the month. Many of those new jobs are in higher-paying industries like business services, transportation and warehousing and health care. (Via WJLA)
Although an economist cautioned Forbes that these boosts could be driven by the holiday season, the past four months have shown an average payroll gain of 204,000. (Via Los Angeles Times)
CNN reports "2013 is on track to be the best year for job creation since 2005," but, of course, there is still a lot to repair from the recession — and large-scale financial change could be on the horizon. (Via The Wall Street Journal)
The jobs data has been triggering speculation about when the Federal Reserve will begin easing out of its stimulus programs after it meets in mid-December. Politico writes sustained job growth and low unemployment could mean "a make-or-break moment."
"I think in all of this, the market is really reacting more to the unemployment rate than the payroll numbers ... because the Fed has said several times they look to the unemployment rate when deciding when to taper." (Via CNN)
The Fed's quantitative easing helped keep interest rates low in an effort to encourage market growth. The New York Times says, "A quick Fed tapering could sap the stock market's recent momentum."
Still, with this kind of steady job growth, the prospect of a more successful 2014 looks good.