The United States added 146,000 jobs in November as the economy seemed to shrug off storm Sandy.
The BBC reports the number was unexpectedly strong and brought the unemployment rate down to a four-year low of 7.7% of the workforce.
The figure was well above most analysts' expectations and continued a surge that begun in July. However, this was in large part because expectations remain very low.
Weekly jobs claims registered a sharp, but short-lived jump in the number claiming benefits in the states ravaged by the storm last month.
The BBC reports that statistics suggest that much of the decline in the unemployment rate since 2008 has been due to people dropping out of the workforce, either due to retirement or because they have given up seeking work.