Unemployment rate drops to 9.7 percent - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Unemployment rate drops to 9.7 percent

WASHINGTON. - Although the numbers look a bit better, the unemployment report for January shows just how much of the recession still has to be overcome.
     
The government now estimates that 8.4 million jobs vanished during the recession, and economists think the nation will be lucky to get back 1.5 million of them this year.
     
The unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent last month from 10 percent, as more people said they had jobs.
     
A Labor Department survey of households found that 541,000 more Americans had jobs last month, but most of the gains were attributed to seasonal adjustments to the numbers.
     
On Wall Street, stocks have been trading in a narrow range so far today, after yesterday's big selloff. One analyst says the improving unemployment rate was a good sign, but that investors are well aware that the economic worries that have sent stocks falling in recent weeks are still there.

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