News from The Hill: The economy added 243,000 jobs in January, many more than had been expected. The unemployment rate also dropped from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent.
The job gains are a boost for President Obama, who is hoping a growing economy will make voters happier with his stewardship of the economy and carry him to a second term. Unemployment might be the most important statistic to watch ahead of the presidential race, and it has now dropped from 9 percent since September 2011.
Most observers had been expecting about 150,000 jobs to be created in January, or even fewer. The January report was nearly 100,000 jobs higher, and suggests a strengthening job market.