Nightly News | February 03, 2012
>>> big news on the economy tonight. the jobs report for january out this morning blew past everyone's expectations with 243,000 jobs added for the month, and the unemployment rate dropping 0.2% to 8.3%. wall street responded with a surge of its own, the dow up 156 points to its highest close since may 2008 . before the economic meltdown. the nasdaq hit an 121-year high. a lot of those jobs added today were in manufacturing.1-year high. a lot of those jobs added today were in manufacturing. cnbc's phil lebeau reports.
>> reporter: at chrysler's plant in illinois, a reason to cheer.
>> it's completely, totally proudly made here in the united states .
>> reporter: 1,800 people will be hired as the once-bankrupt automaker adds a third shift to start building the new dodge dart .
>> we just added 4,000 since we came out of bankruptcy. let's add more.
>> reporter: chrysler is not the only manufacturing hiring. boeing, ge and caterpillar added 25,000 jobs last year. debbie johnson in little rock , arkansas, is happy to be on the caterpillar line.
>> i think it's a great opportunity for anyone given the opportunity to come here.
>> reporter: just as important, some small businesses are putting out the "help wanted" signs. the evergreen supply company in chicago is looking to hire five people.
>> we work extremely hard. i felt like the time was right to invest in more personnel.
>> reporter: economists see the improvement across the country.
>> they were good numbers. we saw broad-based job gains. especially in things that are leading indicators for the economy.
>> reporter: it's not all good news. some companies are planning big lay-offs. american airlines cutting 13,000 jobs as it restructures in bankruptcy. and a new survey of small business owners finds just 30% are looking to add workers this year.
>> we'll likely see job growth , but i'm not expecting that we are going to see the kind of job growth that will start putting back the millions of unemployed workers we have.
>> reporter: officially 12.8 million americans are still without a job. as a result, the white house is once again pushing for an extension of unemployment benefits . phil lebeau nbc news, chicago.