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December Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5% as 200K Jobs Added

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American employers added 200,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, exceeding economists' expectations and bringing down the unemployment rate by one tenth of a percent, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.

The unemployment rate now stands at 8.5 percent.

Economists had expected a gain of about 150,000 jobs last month, but with a slightly higher unemployment rate due to job cutbacks in the government sector and more people are re-entering the work force.

Factoring out the government sector, the latest monthly jobs report shows private employers added 212,000 jobs in December. Time will tell how many of those new jobs were temporary seasonal hires for the holidays, however.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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