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With 13 million still out of work, jobs crisis not yet over

Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

Michael Johnson looks for warehouse work online at the Employment Development Department of California service office in San Francisco January 6, 2012. U.S. employment growth accelerated last month and the jobless rate dropped to a near three-year low of 8.5 percent, the strongest evidence yet the economic recovery is gaining steam.

msnbc.com reports: Friday’s strengthening employment data good news for anyone looking for a job. And there are still plenty of people left in that category.

With the unemployment rate at 8.5 percent in December, there were 13.1 million  Americans out of work, compared with 7 million when the recession began four years ago. The jobless rate was 7.5 percent for whites (3.1 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession), 15.8 percent for African Americans (6.8 percentage points higher), and 11 percent for Hispanics or Latinos (4.7 percentage points higher).

The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in December, but there are still 6 million fewer jobs than there were in Dec. 2007. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

Related:

Better jobs data a mixed blessing for Obama

Hiring gained traction in December