The nation gained 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate improved to 8.5 percent from 8.6 percent in November, according to Department of Labor data out this morning. The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage points since August, and the number of unemployed workers dropped to 13.1 million from close to 14 million.
 
The data also show the:
unemployment rate for adult men decreased to 8 percent in December. Thejobless rates for adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (23.1 percent), whites (7.5 percent), blacks (15.8 percent) and Hispanics (11 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent.
 
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