WASHINGTON — Non-farm payroll employment rose 120,000 in November while the unemployment rate fell to 8.6%, much lower than the rate's 9.0% to 9.2% range from April through October, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The November non-farm payroll employment gain was close to the 117,000 estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, but the 8.6% unemployment rate was much lower than the 9.0% rate they projected.

The 120,000 non-farm payroll employment gain for November followed a revised 100,000 increase for October. The 8.6% jobless rate was a 0.4-percentage point drop from the previous month's rate.

Total private payrolls were up 140,000 while government payrolls were down 20,000 in November.

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