December 7, 2012 4:00 PM, EST
Unemployment Rate Drops to Four-Year Low 7.7%; Trucking Adds 2,500 Jobs
Bruce Harmon/Trans Pixs

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in November, the lowest in almost four years, as employers added 146,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.

Trucking added 2,500 jobs for the month, the monthly report’s figures showed.

The overall payrolls gain topped analysts’ median forecast of 85,000, while the unemployment rate was forecast to hold at October’s 7.9% rate, Bloomberg reported. The 7.7% rate is the lowest since Decmeber 2008.

October’s jobs increase was revised down to 138,000 from an originally reported 171,000, while trucking’s October gain was revised up to 4,700 from an originally reported 3,600.

The transportation and warehousing sector, of which trucking is a part, added 3,500 jobs in November, Labor figures showed.

Private payrolls, which exclude government agencies, rose to 147,000, topping analysts’ 90,000 median forecast, Bloomberg reported.

Factory payrolls fell by 7,000 for the month, as job losses in food manufacturing and chemicals more than offset gains at automakers. Construction jobs fell by 20,000.

Hurricane Sandy, which hit the U.S. East Coast on Oct. 29, “did not substantively impact” the unemployment rate, Labor said.

Part of the reason the unemployment rate declined was because the size of the labor force shrank, Bloomberg reported.

The payroll and unemployment figures are obtained by separate surveys, with payrolls from a survey of employers and the unemployment rate from a survey of households.