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hurricane katrina news

The US jobs market is the healthiest it has been since July, marking a recovery from the Hurricane Katrina downturn.

More than 215,000 new non-farm jobs were created in November, according to the Department of Labor, the biggest gain in four months.

Employment in the manufacturing sector rose for the second consecutive month, boosted by the Katrina recovery effort.

The figures showed there was "every reason to be optimistic" about the US economy, President George W Bush said.

"Good old-fashioned American hard work, productivity, innovation and sound economic policies of cutting taxes and restraining spending [mean] our economy continues to create strength and momentum," he said.

The overall unemployment rate held firm at 5% last month, in line with analysts' forecasts.

The jobs market has been sluggish in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Revised figures from the US Labor Department show that 17,000 new jobs were created in September, with 44,000 being added in October.

"Some of the recent job gains in construction reflect rebuilding and clean-up efforts following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma," Kathleen Utgoff, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said.

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