The U.S. economy gained 200,000 net new jobs in December, bringing the unemployment rate down a tenth of a percentage point to 8.5 percent, its lowest level since February 2009, the Labor Department said Friday.
Median hourly earnings climbed 0.2 percent last month to $23.44.
The 1.64 million jobs added in 2011 made it the best year for U.S. workers since 2006, the Labor Department said. Yet, the advance is modest compared with the 8.4 million jobs lost between December 2007 and June 2009, when the recession officially ended.
Meanwhile the unemployment rate for Latinos also dropped from 11.4% to 11% in December.
So while the general market enjoyed a .3% drop in unemployment from 8.7 to 8.5 the Latino unemployment decrease was bigger at .4%.