Still, most analysts say the underlying economy remains healthy and is creating jobs at a modest but steady pace.
Without the depressive effects of Superstorm Sandy and the cliff, many think employers would have added up to 200,000 jobs last month â¿¿ even stronger than the solid 171,000 jobs added in October. And it would be better than the 174,000 jobs a month averaged in the July-September quarter.
The number of people continuing to receive unemployment aid also fell. Total recipients dropped almost 225,000 to just under 5 million in the week ended Nov. 17, the latest data available.