U.S. hiring continued to gain pace as the economy added 321,000 jobs in November, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

The jobless rate remained unchanged at the six-year low of 5.8 percent, or 9.1 million people, and the average monthly job gains in the past twelve months has been just over 220 thousand jobs. November’s gains was the largest increase in three years.

"This keeps a pace so far this year that we have not seen since the 1990s," President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House. "Over the last four years we’ve put more people back to work than Europe, Japan and all other industrialized advanced countries combined, and we’re going to keep at it until every single American who is willing and able to work can find not just any job but a job that pays a decent wage and allows them to support their families." 

With the new figures, the economy has added at least 200,000 jobs for 10 straight months – the kind of growth not seen since 1994, and the November figures beat most analyst predictions of 230,000 jobs.

The gains were largely fueled by hiring in professional and business services, retail, trade, health care, and manufacturing sectors. The surge in retail, trade and manufacturing sectors comes amid the bustling holiday shopping season, and the accompanying boost in seasonal hiring. 

Still, the number of long-term unemployed, or those who have gone without a job for 27 weeks or more, remained largely the same at 2.8 million for the month.

The Labor Department further revised its assessments for September and October, adding 44,000 more jobs combined to previous estimates. 

Anadolu Agency