Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%; Trucking Adds 5,100 Jobs


 UPDATED:
1/6/2012 9:00:00 AM
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The unemployment rate dropped in December to 8.5%, the lowest in almost three years, while the economy added 200,000 jobs, including 5,100 trucking jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.

Total transportation and warehousing sector employment leaped by 50,200 workers, led by a 42,200 jump in the couriers and messengers category, Labor figures showed.

The unemployment rate, which fell from a revised 8.7% in November, marked the lowest level since February 2009. November’s unemployment rate was originally reported as 8.6%.

Economists had projected that the unemployment rate would rise to 8.7% and the jobs gain surpassed economists’ forecasts of 155,000, Bloomberg reported.

The payrolls gain followed a revised 100,000 increase in November that was smaller than the 120,000 originally reported.

The payroll and unemployment figures are obtained by separate surveys, with payrolls from a survey of employers and the unemployment rate from a survey of households.

Factory employment rose by 23,000 after a 1,000 increase the previous month, while service employment climbed by 152,000 jobs.

Private hiring rose by 212,000 jobs after a revised gain of 120,000 the previous month. Government payrolls decreased by 12,000.

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