The U.S. unemployment rate fell unexpectedly in July, in one
of the strongest signals yet that the worst economic downturn since the Great
Depression may be ending.
A report from the Labor Department Friday shows the unemployment rate dropped
to 9.4 percent last month, compared to 9.5 percent in June. It is the first
time the jobless rate has fallen since April 2008.
Employers cut 247,000 jobs in July. The number is much less than analysts had
expected, but still an indication of a weak job market.
Speaking at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama said the jobs report
was a new sign that the worst of the recession may be over. But he warned that
more work lies ahead, saying there is a "steep mountain to climb, and we
started in a very deep valley."