Unemployment Down, 200,000 Jobs Added to Economy

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Job seekers wait in line to enter the San Francisco Hire Event job fair on November 9, 2011. National unemployment was 8.6 percent in November.

The national unemployment rate dropped in December and 200,000 new jobs were added to payrolls, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday. Unemployment stands at 8.5 percent, down from 8.6 percent.

D.C.’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 10.2 percent in November as the District saw the addition of 3,200 new jobs. Despite the good news, the District’s unemployment rate is still higher than the November 2010 rate of 10 percent. December unemployment figures for D.C. aren’t available yet.

A number of reasons are behind the District’s higher-than-national-average unemployment rate. Joblessness is much higher in wards of the city with high poverty rates and where fewer people have college degrees. The gap between skills and available jobs, as well as the difficulty of finding a job for those with criminal records, have made it difficult to combat unemployment in the District.