US unemployment rate down to 8.3%
Updated: 2012-02-04 03:45
WASHINGTON -- The US unemployment rate edged down to 8.3 percent last month from 8.5 percent in December 2011, evidence of an improving job market, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
Total US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, beating economists' expectations of about 150,000.
Private-sector employment grew by 257,000 last month, with governments at all levels trimming 14,000 jobs.
The total number of unemployed people in the nation dropped to 12.8 million in January, said the department.
The unemployment rate declined to a near three-year low since February 2009, an indication that the US economy was on a stronger footing.
The professional and business sector including accounting and consulting services added 70,000 jobs in January, while employment in leisure and hospitality sector rose by 44,000.
In January, health care employment continued to grow by 31,000, while employment in both retail and wholesale trade continued to trend up.
Employment in construction increased by 21,000 in January, following a gain of 31,000 in the previous month.