A big increase in the number of people who have given up looking for work, so called `discouraged workers,` resulted in the unemployment rate falling to 9.7%.

The number of `discouraged job seekers` has risen about 400,000 to 1.1 million in January.

Some economists had expected hiring to outweight layoffs in January, but that didn`t happen. The Labor Department`s employer survey showed a cut of 20,000 workers.

The annual revision to employment data showed that the number of new jobs that the Labor Department assumed were taking place was wrong. In fact, the economy has lost around 1.2 million more jobs than had been previously reported. A total of 8.4 million jobs have been lost since the start of the recession in December 2007.

Coosa Valley News