Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5 Percent

    DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 05:  Job applicants enter the "Denver Hires Job Fair" on December 5, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Last week the U.S. government announced that the national unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6 percent, lower than most analysts had predicted and the lowest since 2009.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    John Moore / Getty Images

    The newest U.S. monthly employment data show the creation of 200,000 nonfarm jobs in December, better than the expected 155,000 forecast by analysts and more encouraging compared to 120,000 in November, signaling that the market is picking up. The unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent—the lowest in nearly three years—from 8.6 in November. It's a big boost for President Obama's reelection campaign, although at the polls he will probably still have the highest unemployment rate of any sitting president since World War II. Historical data show that reelection prospects hinge less on the jobless rate itself than on the direction during the year or two before Election Day.

    Read it at Bureau of Labor Statistics