The nation's unemployment rate edged down ever so slightly in December to 8.5% -- in November it was 8.6% The government reported Friday the economy added 212,000 jobs last month.
The number of jobs added was a little higher than what analysts had expected.
The positive report is welcome news that the labor market may really have hit bottom last year and is recovering. Most analysts agree, though, that pace of recovery in the labor market will be slow.
The jobless number for November dropped largely because hundreds of thousands of people have simply given up looking for a job. When they drop out of the labor market they are not counted as being unemployed. The number of unemployed and under-employed is still pegged at 15.2%.
Analysts note that as the labor market continues to slowly improve, we are likely to see the jobless rate actually go higher because those discouraged workers will be coming back into the workforce.