7 Reasons Today's Employment Report Gives Us Hope For The Job Market

unemployment report drop new jobsBy Kaitlin Madden

Finally, some great news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly employment report. Not only did unemployment drop to 8.5 percent last month – the lowest it's been since February 2009 – but the economy added about 200,000 jobs in December, close to the monthly growth rate economists say is needed to begin bringing employment back to pre-recession levels.

And the good news doesn't stop there. Here, five more bright spots from the employment report which give us reason to believe the economy is getting back on track.

1. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (or the underemployed) dropped by 371,000 in December.

2. December is the sixth straight month that the economy added at least 100,000 jobs.

3. The number of discouraged workers – unemployed people not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available – fell 373,000 year-over-year (December 2010 – December 2011).

4. While seasonal hiring played a part in the large number of jobs added in December, employment in industries not affected by seasonal hiring (like health care, mining and manufacturing) also rose in December.

5. Over the past 12 months, workers' average hourly earnings have increased by 2.1 percent.

For more insight on the monthly jobs report, check out analysis from:

Next:U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls As Economy Adds 200,000 Jobs

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