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U.S. unemployment rate falls to 9.4% in December

U.S. unemployment rate falls to 9.4% in December (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 9.4% in December, the lowest level since May 2009, as the economy added 103,000 jobs in the final month of 2010, the Labor Department reported Friday. Payrolls for November and October were also revised higher by 70,000 jobs compared with prior government estimates. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 175,000 increase in jobs and were expecting the jobless rate to hold steady at 9.8%. Average hourly earnings in December rose 0.1% at $22.78. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a 0.2% increase. Earnings have risen 1.8% over the past 12 months. The average workweek held steady at 34.3 hours.

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U.S. unemployment rate falls to 9.4% in December