Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a solid pace throughout the first three quarters of 2005. Growth ranged from 3.3% to 4.1% in each quarter. This unusually stable growth has existed since the fourth quarter of 2003. Quarterly growth over this period has been between 3.3% and 4.3%. The unemployment rate, which averaged 5.4% in the final quarter of 2004, fell to 5.0% in the third quarter of 2005. Employment expanded by just over two million jobs between November 2004 and November 2005. An average of 172,000 jobs were added each month—an impressive gain, especially given the negative economic shock brought on by the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast states in late summer and early fall.