6 Dec 2009

Slight fall in US jobless rate

1:52 pm on 6 December 2009

The unemployment rate in the United States dropped slightly last month to 10% - down from 10.2% in October.

The number of jobs lost in the economy was also much lower than forecast at 11,000, far fewer than the 130,000 job cuts expected by most analysts, and the lowest number since the recession began.

The change in the unemployment rate was small that the Labour Department described it as "essentially unchanged", the BBC reports.

US president Barack Obama said the figures were good news but warned there was a lot more to be done "before we can celebrate".

Meanwhile, Commerce Department figures showed factory orders rose by 0.6% in October. Analysts had expected orders to remain unchanged.

The positive economic data pushed up US stocks, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 22.75 points, or 0.22%, to close at at 10,388.90.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 6.06 points, or 0.55%, to 1,105.98, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 21.21 points, or 0.98%, to close at 2,194.35.