COLUMBIA (WACH) -- According to the U.S. Labor Department, the national unemployment rate is down to 9.4 percent, the lowest since may of 2009.
However, economists say that's partly because of a shrinking labor force as more people left the job market.
Also, the U.S. economy added fewer jobs in December than expected.
We talked with an economist from USC to get a better understanding of the Labor Department's figures.
"Well, I think it's a very healthy sign for the U.S. economy that the recovery is really beginning to take hold," says Dr. Joey Von Nessen. "We can expect to see more job growth in 2011 which is very positive for the nation and here in South Columbia. We are also expecting to get 1.2 percent job growth."
As of last month, unemployment rates in the Palmetto State were declining.
This past November, we were at 10.6 percent down from 10.7 percent in October.
According to officials, the state has added about 7,300 jobs since November 2009.