Jobless Rate Drops to Lowest Level Since Summer 2009

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The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in December, its lowest rate since July 2009. The good news: all of December's gain-113,000 jobs-came from private employers. The bad: Federal, state and local governments continued to shed jobs-cutting another 10,000 last month after trimming 8,000 in November.

According to the U.S. Labor Dept., during the past three months, the economy has added an average of 128,000 jobs. That's just enough to keep up with the population growth. Nearly double is generally needed to significantly reduce the unemployment rate. Through all of 2010, the nation added 1.1 million jobs, or an average of 94,000 a month.

Idaho's December figures are expected to be released this afternoon.