U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent

Tom Hinde

Data released on Friday showed a sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 4.9 percent the previous month. The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, a level not seen since August 2007. The strongest-performing sectors were construction, professional and business services and health care. "This is a good tailwind for the new administration," said Steve Rick, chief economist at insurance company CUNA Mutual Group.

The November jobs report was also one of the final snapshots of the economy under Obama's administration. The picture was dramatically different from Obama's first months in the White House, when the private sector was shedding roughly 800,000 jobs a month and the unemployment rate was at 10 percent.

The release comes ahead of the Federal Reserve's Dec. 13-14 meeting, when the central bank is expected to announce its first interest rate increase in a year. Trump has promised to spend heavily to rebuild America's infrastructure. If realized, the plan would likely add more jobs to business payrolls and boost spending, consumer confidence and inflationary pressure throughout the economy.