In brief: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey shows unemployment at 8.6 percent, and the payroll survey shows 120,000 new jobs in November (140,000 from the private sector, and a loss of 20,000 in the public sector). BLS also revised upward its job numbers for September and October.

What does it mean? We’re not out of the woods but we might be seeing some daylight.

Maybe. Here’s what you need to worry about:

First, this rate of job growth is barely enough to keep up with the growth in the working-age population. So we’re not making progress on the backlog of more than 13 million jobless Americans, and another 11 million working part-time who’d rather have full-time jobs.