The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.7% in November while the overall labor force participation rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 63.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Employment went up in retail trade, professional and business services and health care. The number of unemployed Americans remained unchanged at 12 million, and the overall employment-population ratio hovered at 58.7%, which is in line from a month earlier. 

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 146,000 in November, the report said. On average, employment numbers have edged up by about 151,000 per month for the past year.

Retail-trade employment numbers rose by 53,000 positions in November and have increased by 140,000 over the past three months.