US adds 243,000 jobs in January, unemployment drops to 8.3%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers on Friday that showed the US added 243,000 jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, the lowest point in nearly three years, the Associated Press reported

In each of the past three months, employers have added on average 50,000 more jobs than the average for each month of 2011. 

The AP reported:

"The January jobs report was filled with other encouraging data and revisions. Hiring was widespread across many high-paying industries. Pay increased. And the economy added 200,000 more jobs in 2011 than first thought."

NPR reported that this is the fifth straight month the unemployment rate has dropped. A year ago, it was 9.1 percent.

But all data isn't rosy, says the New York Times. Home sales are up, but prices are still falling; oil is on the rise and consumers are still holding back because of still-weak consumer confidence.

The White House released a statement that said:

"It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007. Most importantly, we need to extend the payroll tax cut and continue to provide emergency unemployment benefits through the end of this year, and take the additional steps that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address to create an economy built to last."

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