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Unemployment Rate Falls to 10%

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped in November, while the nation's economy lost the fewest jobs since 2007. A report from the Labor Department released on Friday, December 4, 2009 says the jobless rate was 10 percent last month, a slight decline from the 26-year high it hit in the previous month, 10.2%.

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If part-time workers who want full time jobs and laid-off workers who have given up looking for jobs are included, the so-called underemployment rate also fell, to 17.2 percent from 17.5 percent in October.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the report a "hopeful sign," but said "we still have a long way to go." He told an audience in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that he will not rest until these tough times "get better."

The data show the factory and construction sectors continued to lose jobs, but at a slower rate. The services sector added jobs. Companies also are hiring more temporary workers, perhaps a sign that demand is increasing and firms will begin hiring again.

Job creation is expected to remain far too weak in coming months to absorb the 15.4 million unemployed people who are seeking work — and the 11.5 million others who are underemployed. As more people begin seeking work, the jobless rate is likely to resume rising, according to the Associated Press.

On Thursday, Mr. Obama gathered business owners and executives, labor leaders and economists at a "jobs summit" in Washington, where he urged the participants to help him create initiatives for putting millions of unemployed Americans back to work.

He also is scheduled to make a major economic speech in Washington on Tuesday, December 8.

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