It seems that this Christmas will continue to be financially tight for many families.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced today that the national unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 to 7.7 percent in November, when 350,000 people dropped out of the workforce. Unfortunately, the number of new jobs created dropped from October and was not enough to change the number of unemployed persons, which remains stagnant.

Many Washington politicians may champion the dropping unemployment rate as a victory for American households going into the Christmas season. However, a shrinking workforce is troubling. Consistently, drops in the unemployment rate have coincided not necessarily with job creation, but with discouraged job-seekers giving up looking for a job.

When you count people who have not been able to find work so gave up looking and those who took part-time work because they needed to continue to pay their bills while searching for full-time work, the unemployment rate reaches a whopping 14.4 percent. This number is staggering.

Many economists expected the rate to rise following Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, however, BLS announced the hurricane seemed to have a negligible effect on national employment in November.