Unemployment Rate Lowest in 2 Years

U.S. added 120,000 jobs last month, according to new numbers.
4:16 | 12/02/11

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Transcript for Unemployment Rate Lowest in 2 Years
As the news millions of Americans have been hoping to hear a real sign of life in the American economy. News today the unemployment rate has tumbled from 9% down to eight point 6%. The lowest rate in two and a half years the nation adding a 120000. Jobs. Last month. So the big question tonight is this has the country finally turned a corner ABC's Dan Harris starts us off. Across America tonight a sound we haven't heard enough. -- job -- today from DC to Portland here I am. -- -- -- and that last guy is Daniel Mengistu who sold his family's home. To fund the opening of elevation Berger just two months ago in Rye Brook New York it's an organic burger -- clearest. The elevation burgers I think it's he hired general manager Megan -- near ten days ago -- just got this job. That's that's pretty -- And plans to open three more restaurants that this is -- tough -- analysts and with 75 more employees. In the new year. Creating jobs in this kind of environment you feel like you're defying gravity in some ways humans. Really really grateful and some cases about being hired and it feels really good to be able to give people opportunities that really doesn't -- Economists are particularly excited about signs that small businesses like this one are hiring these small businesses have long been America's job growth engine. Now we should say today's dropping in employment rate was not an unvarnished positive. Of the 600000. People no longer unemployed. More than half are people who are simply so discouraged. That they're not trying to find a job anymore the government just came -- the latest jobs the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell. But economists agree the job market does appear to be improving I'm. I got a job yeah. That today's -- -- could underline could set off a virtuous cycle making Americans more willing to spend during the holidays. Which in turn creates more jobs and we're spending in more jobs and sell. That's important to remind everybody even with the current gains we are only about a quarter of the way to replacing the millions of jobs lost during this recession however economists we heard from today say it's better to have forward momentum even if it's slow. And it is have no momentum at all. I'm just that point to and we were looking for ways to get perspective in here take a look. Here is the path back from the worst of the job losses. They took place more than a year ago back in February 20. Ten but even with the print at the recent job growth we still have six million fewer jobs than -- -- at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2000. Seven stand said. So I want to bring in now Diane swamp chief economist of ms. -- financial and Diane digit exhale and all this morning when you woke up did you think we've turned a corner. I think the waters are certainly calmer than they were just a few months ago but it's kind of like turning a battleship around it takes a very long time and it's very slow. There's still a lot of icebergs ahead the most notable one is the ongoing debt crisis in Europe that frankly we might crash into. So if Europe -- study what will be the next sign your looking for. To signal to you that the recovery might be real. Well really it's the holiday season it's as -- -- I've -- -- -- going to -- but really packed they're waiting in line. Our family restaurants I'm seeing people coming back to them after not being out of our their lights on in your neighborhood. We saw in the last couple -- the cutback in the number of -- -- put out to decorate their homes things as simple as that really give you -- sign of hope. Willing people are to -- -- discretionary rather than just necessities during this holiday season and that's a sign of moving forward. Rather than just treading water but this isn't big drop -- that unemployment number. It certainly is a big drop half of that was good news with those -- gains in jobs the other half was people giving up. And I think one of the things we have to leave out there remember is that people who are getting jobs tend to be people who haven't been unemployed for very long. Those who have been unemployed longer are still unemployed.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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