Dow Jones Newswires (01/06/12) Sparshott, Jeffrey; Barkley, Tom
The U.S. economy gained 200,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday. Private companies added 212,000 jobs, while the public sector shrank by 12,000. The unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, sank to 8.5% in December, its lowest level since February 2009. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a gain of 155,000 in payrolls and a jobless rate of 8.7%.