In another sign that the United States economy is on the mend, the Labor Department has revealed that the national unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in February, which is the lowest reading since April of 2009.
The report indicated that the economy gained 192,000 net jobs last month as businesses added 222,000 positions while State and local governments eliminated 30,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate has fallen almost a full percentage point in the last three months, which is the fastest improvement in nearly three decades.
A CNN survey of economists had predicted that February's figure would rise to 9.2 percent, which would have been an increase from January's 9 percent. Although the new data may fuel optimism among some Americans, many critics believe that President Barack Obama has not done enough to spur job growth.
Obama's administration has forecast that the unemployment rate will drop to 8.6 percent in 2012, which, according to Labor Department records dating back to 1948, would be the first time the figure exceeded 8 percent during a Presidential election year.