U.S. Jobless Rate Drops

Good news, and much better than expected: the U.S. economy created 243,000 nonfarm jobs in January, up from a 200,000 increase in December, and the unemployment rate dropped from 8.5 percent to 8.3. The private sector added 257,000 jobs, while the public sector cut 14,000. At one point during trading Friday, European stocks hit a six-month high as investors were optimistic about the U.S. jobs report and cheered data that the euro zone might avoid a recession. But Canada's jobs report for the same month was disappointing—it added only 2,300 jobs when economists were expecting 22,000, and unemployment rose to 7.6 percent.