US enjoys best year for job creation since 1999

Economists say US shrugging off problems impacting other nations

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The Independent US

The US created more than 250,000 new jobs last month – an achievement that capped its best year for hiring since 1999.

Figures released by the US Labour Department of Labour said 252,000 jobs were added in December and unemployment fell to 5.6 per cent, the lowest figure in six years. The numbers support expectations that the United States will strengthen further this year even as overseas economies stumble.

The latest figures will be welcome news to President Barack Obama as the US continues to shrug off signs of economic weakness overseas and continuing to hire at healthy rates. The US economy’s steady improvement is especially striking compared with the weakness in much of the world.

The Associated Press said that the US’s fortunes were in stark contrast to Europe where there was barely any growth and its unemployment rate is nearly double the US level. Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is in recession while Russia’s economy is cratering as oil prices plummet. China is straining to manage a slowdown. Brazil and others in Latin America are struggling.

Fears about significantly cheaper oil spooked investors earlier this week before financial markets recovered. But most economists remain optimistic that lower energy prices will ultimately benefit US consumers and many businesses and give the American economy a further boost.

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