The U.S. economy picked up 243,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The surprise decrease boosts President Obama's election-year narrative of slow, steady economic improvement during his term.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected payrolls to grow by 140,000 (compared with 200,000 in the previous month) and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 8.5 percent. The January unemployment rate was the lowest since February, 2009. The number of jobs added in November and December was revised up in Friday's report by a collective 60,000.
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