The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent. For the first time that puts it at a level below where it was when President Barack Obama was inaugurated. Once before, in November, the BLS had reported a rate of 7.7 percent, but that was later revised upward as part of a year-end rebenchmarking. The broad unemployment rate, U-6, also fell to its lowest level since 2008.
The economy added 246,000 payroll jobs in the month, for a net gain of 236,000, taking into account a decrease of 10,000 jobs in federal, state, and local government. The increase in payroll jobs was broadly based, with both goods-producing and service sectors contributing.
Not all the news was good, however. The number of people working part-time for economic reasons increased, as did the percentage of unemployed workers who had been out of a job for 27 weeks or more. Both indicators have been stubbornly high throughout the recovery.
Follow this link to view or download a classroom-ready slideshow with charts of all the latest jobs data.