5 Mar 2011

US unemployment rate falls to lowest in two years

11:46 am on 5 March 2011

The unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 8.9% in February, its lowest in nearly two years.

It's the third month in a row that the jobless rate has fallen, the BBC reports, after hitting 9.8% in November.

The US Labor Department says 192,000 jobs were created in February, with the greatest gains coming in manufacturing, construction, business services and transport.

The data shows that the jobless rate for adult men was 8.7%, for adult women 8% and for teenagers 23.9%.

The total number of unemployed people now stands at 13.7 million, still almost double pre-recession levels; and the BBC's correspondent says the figures don't take into account those people who have given up looking for work or those who want full-time employment but can only find part-time jobs.

President Barack Obama says that the figures show progress in the US economy, and that the country needs to "keep building on that momentum".