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Unemployment rate drops to 4.6%, its lowest level in nine years

The U.S. economy created 178,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, its lowest point since August 2007, the Labor Department said today. 

That growth compares to job gains of 142,000 in October and 208,000 in September. 

The news sets the stage for a hike in interest rates when the Federal Reserve board meets on Dec 13-14; such an increase would be the first raise in a year. AH