It was great news when the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% last month.? But there were still enough zigs and zags in the data to make it unclear whether the trend would continue, and how real that number was.
Then the numbers came out Friday morning, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman and other outlets:
In the most impressive surge for the job market since the middle of last decade, the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.
Hiring accelerated across the economy and up and down the pay scale. The high-salary professional services industry added 70,000 jobs, the most in 10 months. Manufacturing added 50,000, the most in a year.
Not only did the jobs report come back nicely, but an extra 200,000 jobs were added via revisions to the 2011 statistics.? The economy may not be screaming back, but it is slowly but surely improving. ? Most surprising was that the hiring was really across the board, across a wide range of industries (including manufacturing and construction).? Let's hope the economy continues to mend.