Unemployment drops to 8.5 percent in December 2011

From MSNBC.com

Hiring gained traction in December

U.S. employment grew solidly last month, continuing a strengthening trend in the nation’s job market seen in the second half of 2011.

The economy’s payrolls increased by 200,000 in December, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. The data surpassed economists’ expectations and mark a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. That hasn’t happened since April 2006.

Adding to the upbeat tone of the report was news that the nation’s jobless rate slipped to 8.5 percent in December — its lowest level since February 2009 and down from a revised 8.7 percent reading for the previous month. The rate has dropped for four straight months.

“There is no question that today’s employment report is a positive and there is also no question that the pace of job growth has accelerated of late,” said Dan Greenhaus, an analyst at BTIG LLC, a brokerage firm.

I’d say things are trending in the right direction. I can’t wait to see how the GOP presidential candidates will try to spin this as a failure on the part of Democrats and President Barack Obama.