Non-farm payroll employment rose 200,000 in December while the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The increase in December non-farm payroll employment was the result of gains in transportation, warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care and mining.

The level was much higher than the median 150,000 increase estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the 8.5% jobless rate was lower than the median 8.7% rate they projected.

The 200,000 non-farm payroll employment gain for December followed a revised 100,000 increase for November.

The 8.5% unemployment rate represented a decline from the 8.7% rate in November.

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