Unemployment rate decreases as companies show more confidence in economy

(CBS News) A lot of economists were expecting a lousy jobs report today. Boy, were they surprised.

The U.S. economy continued to add jobs in November despite worries about a looming fiscal cliff in Washington and the effects of a super storm in the Northeast. The economy created 146,000 jobs last month -- not great, but a lot better than expected.

The unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a point to 7.7 percent. That's not quite as good as it sounds. It was mostly because people gave up looking, and were dropped from the count.

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At Chobani, the Greek yogurt maker based in New York, CEO Hamdi Ulukaya has been hiring. They have close to 2,000 employees now.

The Turkish-born Ulukaya started Chobani just five years ago.

Since then, Greek yogurt sales have exploded. Chobani is now nearly a $1 billion business.

"I think we are going to be 5,000 to 6,000 people by five years," he says.

Nationally, job growth has been steady but slow. So far in 2012, the economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month.

"We are creating more jobs. But the pace hasn't really changed much in the past two years," chief investment strategist with firm BlackRock Russ Koesterich says.

He says the economy is caught in a circle.

"One reason the job market isn't better is consumers aren't spending, and the reason consumers aren't spending is the job market isn't better," Koesterich says.

But this month, Chobani will open a new $450 million plant in Idaho. Ulukaya says he feels good about the economy.

""I personally think next two years is a completely different picture," he says.

The so-called "underemployment rate" also dropped last month to 14.4 percent. That includes those who've given up looking, and those forced to take part-time work. Overall, 12 million people are unemployed.

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"