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US unemployment rate falls in January

The US government has announced that the country's unemployment rate dropped to 9.7% in January, from 10%.

A survey of households reported that the number of employed US residents rose by 541,000 last month; at the same time, however, employers cut 20,000 jobs.

According to the figures, the retail sector gained 42,100 jobs last month, the largest increase since November 2007; manufacturers' job counts increased by 11,000, the biggest gain since April 2006.

Temporary help, meanwhile, gained 52,000 jobs. The Press Association reports that could be an indication more hiring is on the way, saying that employers generally hire temporary staff before more permanent workers.

Carl Riccadonna, a senior US economist for Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York, commented: "Companies just can't meet demand requirements with their existing labor force, so they have to increase the number of workers. This report does seem to indicate the economy is moving in the right direction."



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