The nation’s unemployment rate continues to trend down. It slipped to 8.5 percent during the month of December as the economy added 200,000 new jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday morning.
The reported rate is down from 8.6 percent in November. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised downward from +120,000 to +100,000. October’s data was revised upward from +100,000 to +112,000.
December’s results were better than expected, with the consensus forecast among analysts looking for the rate to inch up to 8.7 percent and net job growth over the month to tally 150,000.
December marks the sixth consecutive month of 100,000-plus job gains and the first such stretch employers have been able to string together since 2006.
The number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – was little changed in December at 5.6 million and accounted for 42.5 percent of the unemployed.
The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point since August, according to the Labor Department. At 8.5 percent, the rate ended 2011 at its lowest level in nearly three years.
Over the 2011 calendar year, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.6 million, up sharply from the 940,000 jobs added in 2010.
Employment in the private sector rose by 212,000 in December and by 1.9 million over the year.
Government employment changed little over the month but fell by 280,000 over the year.
The national unemployment rate averaged 8.9 percent in 2011, compared to 9.6 percent in 2010.
This article is from DSNews.com: “Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%“.