Unemployment drops to 9.4 percent

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The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in December and non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Employment rose in leisure, hospitality and health care, but changed little in other major industries. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in November.

The number of people unemployed decreased by 556,000, to 14.5 million, in December.

The number of job losers and people who completed temporary jobs dropped by 548,000, to 8.9 million, during the month. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed, at 6.4 million, and accounted for 44.3 percent of the unemployed.

About 2.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force in December, little different from a year earlier. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

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