The US economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January as growth at the back of 2011 carried into the early part of this year.
The number of people in work jumped by 243,000, much better than economists’ forecasts of a gain of 150,000.
In addition the November and December numbers were revised to show 60,000 more jobs were created than previously reported.
The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent of workforce. That is the lowest level since February 2009. The rate has declined by 0.8 percent since August.
The continued labour market improvement is important politically and will be a relief for President Barack Obama who faces a tough re-election battle in November.
Job gains last month were widespread, with even the transportation and warehousing sector increasing hiring.
And the strength was all in the private sector as government payrolls were cut by 14,000.
There are however worries about continued economic growth in the US particularly because of the effects of the European debt crisis.
The US economy grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, but a lot of that was from rebuilding of businesses’ inventories setting the economy up for a slower growth pace this quarter.