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Burst of jobs helps lower unemployment rate

February 03, 2012|By Don Lee

Hotels and restaurants, which employ 11.6 million people, also returned to their pre-recession high in employment last month as they increased their headcounts by 29,000. But it’s unclear whether such growth can be sustained.

Analysts said the warm weather likely boosted staffing in January, as it did for the construction industry, where payrolls were up 21,000 last month on top of 31,000 in December -- the biggest back-to-back increase for construction since 2007.

Among other services, healthcare employment continued to expand, adding 31,000 in January. Except for one month in 2003, the healthcare sector has increased jobs in every month over the last decade. The temporary-help industry also grew last month.

The information services industry, however, lost 13,000 jobs, mostly at motion-picture and sound-recording firms. Banks and other financial services also shed a small number of positions. And government continued to reduce staffing, though with overall cuts of 14,000, it was less than previous months.

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