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The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 7.7% in November, the lowest level since December of 2008, according to the Labor Department. However, the lower rate was caused largely because people dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work. Because of Sandy, economists had expected a jobs gain of only 80,000; the 146,000 gain was a big surprise. The government said Sandy had little influence on employment. However, the government revised October and September employment gains downward, so the economy's trajectory appears unchanged, according to MarketWatch.com.

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