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US Jobless Rate Drops Slightly

A General Motors employee works on a van assembly line at GM's plant in Wentzville, Missouri, November 3, 2011.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly in October to hit 9 percent, while the economy had a net gain of 80,000 jobs.

Friday's report from the Labor Department says job growth in the private sector was partly offset by declining government employment.

The jobless rate is the lowest in six months, but still leaves 13.9 million Americans out of work.

The U.S. economy has recovered only a fraction of the 8 million jobs lost in the recession, which was the worst downturn in decades.

In the year before the recession began, the jobless rate averaged about 4.6 percent, around half the current rate.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.