Unemployment in the United States dropped slightly in January, falling one-tenth of a percent to 6.6 percent. That is the lowest jobless rate since 2008.
Friday’s report from the Labor Department also says there was a net gain of 113,000 jobs in the economy, which is well below the average monthly gain over the past year.
Employment grew in construction and manufacturing, but fell in retail and government.
The new data shows that 10.2 million Americans are still officially counted as unemployed. The number of people who have been out of work for more than 27 weeks declined by more than 200,000, but that still leaves 3.6 million people stuck in long-term unemployment.
The new jobs report comes one day after a failed attempt to revive a program that keeps unemployment benefits flowing to people who have been out of work for extended periods in the U.S. Senate.
Congress is also haggling over when and how to raise the limit on U. S. debt.