The Labor Department today stunned even economists who had expected the national unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7%.

New figures released this morning show the rate fell in November to 6.7%.  That is the lowest level since just before the economic turmoil that began in October, 2008.

While the numbers sound the like the economy is recovering at a steady pace, some say they are deceiving.  They say the drop occured, at least in part, because people are falling off the grid.  They claim the numbers do not reflect the number of Americans who've given up on finding work.  The government counts those who are actively seeking a job.

December's hiring was far below the average gain in the last four months of 214-thousand jobs.  Construction firms suffered the biggest hit losing 16,000 jobs.  That's the biggest drop for that sector in nearly 2 years.   The onset of cold and snowy weather is believed to have contributed to the loss.