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Economy Adds 146,000 Jobs In November


BLS' household survey -- a separate survey the government uses to gauge the strength of the labor market -- reports a slight drop in both employment and the size of the labor force.

Despite some weak internal figures, including an uptick in the employment to population ratio, the report comes as a welcome surprise given the consensus that exogenous factors, like Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff, have hamstrung the labor market in recent weeks.

November job growth was strongest in the retail trade, professional and business services, and health care sectors, according to BLS

The payroll report says retail trade employment grew by 53,000 jobs, professional and business services climbed 43,000, and health care employment increased by 20,000.

Because of the size of the labor market, the initial reports are marked by a degree of uncertainty nearly equal to the reported increase in employment.

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at