NEW YORK — The U.S. economy added 114,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, the best start to a year since June 2008.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, its lowest since April 2012, as more than 1.2 million people joined the labor force, the first time since June that it was lower than that mark.
While the number of people working dropped slightly, it is still well above its long-run trend, and the unemployment rate is the highest since December 2013.
Overall, the unemployment is down nearly 3 percentage points from the same period in 2016, when the economy grew by more than 4 million jobs.
For the year, the economy added more than 2.3 million jobs, the highest number since July 2008, according to the U.P.S., a labor-market research firm.
This is the first year that the labor market has been in such a strong position, said Kevin Hassett, director of the Uphill Bull Market and the Center for the Study of Workforce Development at George Mason University.
Economists have been expecting a rebound for months now, but they were hoping the economy would finally be able to pull itself back into a new normal and start hiring again, he said.
Job growth has been steady and growing, Hassett said.
The U.K. economy has added 1.7 million jobs over the past two years, while the U., France, Germany, Italy and Spain have added about 2.6 million each.
In addition to job gains, the labor-force participation rate, or the share of workers who are working or looking for work, rose to 62.3% in November from 62.1% in October.
That is the best figure since April 2008.
The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.3%.
The labor market is still a long way from fully recovered from the Great Recession, when more than 12 million Americans lost their jobs and the economy shrank by an average of more than 3 million jobs per month.
Still, economists say the job gains in November are enough to restore some slack in the labor supply that the economy needs to start returning to its long term growth path.
“It’s a pretty good start,” Hassett told ABC News.
“It’s been quite a few months since we saw the labor markets that were robust.”
“The economy will start to pick up again, and I think that’s the point where we can get back to a solid recovery,” he said, adding that the recovery would likely be more than the economy could handle on its own.
Hassett expects the recovery to be short-lived.
Even so, the jobs data is a sign that the U.”s recovery is getting back on track.
A weak job market is a huge drag on the economy, and this is not an accident, he added.
As the economy recovers, it will become easier for businesses to find and hire people, so it is important to maintain a job-creation strategy that keeps people employed.
But it is also important for the labor economy to continue to grow.
And if the economy does not get back on its feet fast enough, it could lead to more job losses and more hardship for families.
When people start to get back in the workforce, that will make it harder for businesses and households to recover and to provide for their families.
Hassetts said there is no “magic number” that will be enough to spur a comeback.
Instead, he says that there are many indicators that point to continued gains in the economy that are positive for the economy.
We don’t know what is going to happen over the next two to three months, he continued.
We can’t be certain.
To be sure, he also pointed out that many jobs are still being lost and that many people who have been looking for a job for a while will not be able find it.
There is also a lot of uncertainty, he noted.
On top of that, there are still a lot more people looking for jobs.
He said that could make the labor shortage even more severe, especially as some businesses are already looking for workers who have not yet found one.
He also said that the economic recovery will likely take time to complete.
Once the labor forces start to return, jobs will return, he warned.
At some point, we will have a new jobs picture, he cautioned.
We are at that point now.
One of the biggest issues, Hassetts said, is that some people in the country are still not making the transition from a traditional part-time job to a full-time one.
That has led to some confusion and has left many people in a position where they cannot find a full time job.
What we need to do is start a conversation about a