Jobless rate drops to 8.6%, but crisis not over

The nation's unemployment rate unexpectedly plummeted for the month of November to 8.6 percent, a two-year low, but Long Island's jobless may not be out

WOODBURY - The nation's unemployment rate unexpectedly plummeted for the month of November to 8.6 percent, a two-year low, but Long Island's jobless may not be out of the woods yet.

According to the latest figures, more than half of the 120,000 jobs added in November were by retailers, restaurants and bars - a sign that holiday hiring has kicked in.

According to Long Island Association's chief economist Dr. Pearl Kamer, these good-news numbers don't paint an accurate picture of the nation's unemployment.

"The bad news is that unemployment fell because we had more discouraged workers who couldn't find jobs and stopped looking, and therefore are no longer counted as unemployed," she says.

Kamer adds that the current level of job growth may be enough to avoid a second recession, but it's not enough to materially reduce the unemployment rate. She says if one were to take into account the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave up looking for work, combined with people who are underemployed, a more accurate unemployment figure would be upwards of 15 percent.

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