Economy added fewer jobs than expected in November

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in November and the unemployment rate rose to its highest level since April, indicating the economic recovery remains weak 17 months after the recession ended.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 39,000 last month as private-sector employers added only 50,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 144,000 and that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 9.6%.

The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, unexpectedly rose to 9.8% last month. More than 15 million people seeking work can’t get a job.

The October payrolls number was revised up slightly to show a 172,000 increase from a previous estimate of 151,000.

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