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U.S. jobless rate falls to 9.4% in December

That's the lowest level in 19 months. Employers add 103,000 jobs, below expectations.

January 07, 2011|By Don Lee | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Employers across the country added a modest 103,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, the government said Friday, closing out the year with a bit of a whimper instead of the bang that some economists were expecting.

Analysts were expecting new jobs on the order of 150,000 after recent unemployment filings and private surveys of hiring and layoffs suggested that the anemic labor market was solidly improving.

The Labor Department report, however, showed that the unemployment rate dropped dramatically last month to 9.4%, from 9.8% in November. The drop was likely due at least in part to statistical adjustments, as the government's count of unemployed workers fell by 556,000, to 14.5 million.

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