Just last night, Ezra explained on the show that the new monthly job figures would be released this morning, and a lot of folks would be shocked by how bad the numbers would be. Why? Because of Hurricane Sandy. Most expected to see only 80,000 jobs created.
This morning, everyone's shocked for a very different reason. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, nearly double the projections. What's more, the overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, its lowest point in four years.
On a more discouraging note, job totals from September and October were revised down a bit.
To be sure, 146,000 jobs isn't evidence of a robust economic recovery, but given Sandy-generated expectations, the figures come as a pleasant surprise.
Above you'll find the chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here's another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.