MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The U.S. economy continued to show signs of life in November even as the nation edged ever closer to the fiscal cliff/austerity crisis.

According to the Labor Department, the economy added 146,000 jobs in November which helped the unemployment rate drop to 7.7 percent which is the lowest rate since December 2008, a month before President Barack Obama took office.

The Labor Department said hiring remained steady, but employers still added almost 50,000 jobs less in November than in the previous two months. The unemployment rate fall was aided by more people stopping looking for work and therefore not counted as unemployed.

Retailers made up a large portion of the hiring, adding 53,000 jobs while temporary jobs added 18,000 workers. Auto manufacturers also added 10,000 jobs, but manufacturing jobs fell thanks to 12,000 jobs lost when Hostess closed down.

The biggest question that consistently remains unanswered by the federal and state unemployment numbers is how many of the jobs that are being added are full-time jobs with good pay and benefits versus how many are low-paying jobs with few to any benefits.

The government doesn’t keep track of what type of jobs are actually being created.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)