Job growth sped up in June as the economy created a much-higher-than expected 288,000 jobs and the jobless rate dropped to near a six-year low of 6.1 percent. The Labor Department reported Thursday that data for April and May were revised to show a total of 29,000 more jobs created than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a gain of 212,000 jobs in June. It was the first time since the technology boom in the late 1990s that employment has grown above a 200,000-jobs pace for five straight months. An alternate measure of unemployment that measures those who have stopped looking for work or are working part-time for economic reasons also fell, to 12.1 percent, marking its lowest reading since October 2008.
-- Reuters and NBC News Staff