Bloomberg by the Numbers: 34%

Photograph by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Workers perform a final inspection on Sonata and Elantra vehicles at the HyundaiMotor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, on Oct. 22, 2013.

That’s the share of economists Bloomberg surveyed Dec. 6 who expect the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its bond-buying program later this month.

That’s up from 17 percent in a Nov. 8 survey, Bloomberg’s Jeff Kearns and Catarina Saraiva reported.

The survey came as the government reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent last month, the lowest since the jobless rate was 6.8 percent in November 2008.

The economy added 203,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month and 200,000 jobs in October, the first time since November and December of last year that it added at least 200,000 jobs in consecutive months.

Those unemployed fewer than five weeks fell to 2.46 million from 2.76 million in October, when a partial federal government shutdown furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers. Yet there were 4.1 million people last month who reported being jobless for at least 27 weeks, about the same number as in October.

“The rate of unemployment for the long-term unemployed remains higher than at any point prior to the Great Recession,” Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.

The well-being of middle-class Americans is threatened by “growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility,” Perez said, calling attention to President Barack Obama’s comments Dec. 4 that the gap between rich and poor is a “fundamental threat to the American dream.”

Income inequality has grown during Obama’s presidency, as Bloomberg’s David J. Lynch explains here.

 

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