Greensboro, NC -- It sounds like great news: the country's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than 2.5 years, 8.6% in November. It's down from 9% in October.
We're digging deeper on those unemployment numbers, what they mean for our economy, and you.
One reason for the drop is hundreds of thousands of people have simply given up looking for work. They're no longer counted as unemployed.
Also, many people have been out of work for so long, they're no longer eligible for unemployment benefits and aren't counted either.
It's also the holiday season, and nearly half of the new jobs created were in the retail industry. We don't know how many of those jobs are temporary for the holiday season.
"People haven't felt good about the economy. There's a lot of uncertainty about the financial markets and the housing markets the housing market has decreased the value in people's home as you know, and that's prevented people from being able to buy things," said Mark Kurt, Labor Economist at Elon University.
Kurt says people haven't been spending money because of the uncertainty in our economy.
However, spending is the first step toward improvement.
Once you start buying things, companies make profits.
That allows them to expand production.
Companies then hire temporary workers.
Hiring permanent workers come last, once businesses feel good about economic stability.
We also asked how the housing market falls into all of this.
Kurt told us America has never had a recession where the housing market crashed, so there's no way to tell when and if the housing market will recover.
"The housing market, which is typically someone's largest asset, that market, the prices are still low, people don't feel very wealthy or very secure in their home," said Kurt.
Kurt says the economy isn't shrinking anymore, but it's not growing quickly either. He says that means we are in for a long, slow recovery.