Unemployment in the United States dropped by 200,000 in December, providing a boost for both the global economy and for President Obama as he starts his re-election campaign in earnest.
The jobless rate fell from 8.7 per cent in November to 8.5 per cent in December, the lowest level since February 2009. This was the sixth month in a row that the US has seen a rise in the number of jobs.
Job gains were seen across most sectors including healthcare, manufacturing and retail.
The non-farm payroll data was better than most experts expected and provides evidence that the US economy is recovering faster than the UK and the rest of Europe.
Marcus Bullus, trading director at MB Capital said: "Such an impressive fall in both the number of jobless Americans and the unemployment rate will cheer everyone bar Republican spin doctors.
"The Obama administration could be forgiven for showboating over this convincing evidence that America's economy is pulling away from Europe’s.”
The US has created 1.6 million jobs this year with the growth in job creation being led by the private sector in sharp contrast to the success of the UK government’s policy that private sector jobs would replace job losses in the public sector as a result of the spending cuts.
The US employment data aided the dollar’s continued strength against the euro. The euro fell to under $1.27 at one point on Friday for the first time in 16 months.
The figures contrasted with unemployment data for Europe released today for November which remained at an all-time high of 10.3 per cent, the same as in October.
The figures came as unemployment in the eurozone remained at an all-time high of 10.3% for the second month running with 16.3 million people out of work in the 17-nation eurozone. This is an increase of 45,000 from October.
Howard Archer, Chief UK & European Economist for IHS Global said: “The only crumb of comfort that can be taken from the latest data is that the rise in unemployment in November was the smallest since June.”
Professional investment advice