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Happy new year for jobs

Employment probably rose for a third month in December, bringing U.S. payroll growth last year to about 1 million and pointing to further improvement in the labor market in 2011, economists said before a report this week.

Employment probably rose for a third month in December, bringing U.S. payroll growth last year to about 1 million and pointing to further improvement in the labor market in 2011, economists said before a report this week.

Indications the economy is improving and will create the conditions for further employment growth helped fuel gains in the stock market last year at the same time companies reported stronger earnings. Bigger employment and income gains may allowing the expansion to become well-rooted.

Labor by the numbers

140K
A projected 140,000 gain in December payrolls is the median forecast of 61 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Jan. 7 report from the Labor Department.

9.7%
The unemployment rate may have eased to 9.7 percent.

215K
Estimates for the increase in December payrolls ranged from 95,000 to 215,000.

8.4M
It will take years to make up for the 8.4 million jobs lost during the 18-month recession.

1982
2010 was the worst year for U.S. joblessness since 1982.

 
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