White House calls drop in unemployment rate an ‘encouraging’ sign

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The White House on Friday called the latest unemployment numbers an encouraging sign that the labor market was improving, but noted that there was much still be done before the economic pain of recent years would be eased for many Americans.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 9.7% in January, the first time it has been in single digits since September. However, the other report that the number of lost jobs had increased by a net of 20,000 indicated that job creation had failed to take hold as strongly as the administration had hoped.

“While unemployment remains a severe problem, today’s employment report contains encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing,” Christina Romer, chair of the White House council of economic advisers, said in a statement.

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