The big news of the day is the unemployment rate has dropped from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent!

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 last month, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday in its monthly survey of employers. Private companies added 212,000 jobs, while the public sector—federal, state and local governments—shrank by 12,000.

The unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, sank to 8.5% in December, its lowest level since February 2009. November’s rate was revised up to 8.7%.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a gain of 155,000 in payrolls and a jobless rate of 8.7%.

Wow. That is, wait for it…unexpected.

So things are really getting better. I must have been wrong about not being able to spend your way to recovery.

Or, not:

Yet the unemployment rate trickery still continues, with labor force participation (prior revised), now at a 27 year low of 64%, and the labor force itself declined by 50K from 153,937 to 153,887. In fact, persons not in the labor force have increased by 7.5 million since January 2007! Bottom line – dropping out of labor statistics is the new killing it.

Jim Geraghty at National Review adds:

We’re still down 349,000 from the size of the labor force when Obama’s term began. The labor force hit its lowest point during that time in January 2011, at 153,250,000.

Now look at the labor force size growth over the preceding three years:

January 2006: 150,214,000.

December 2008: 154,626,000.

That’s 4,412,000 more Americans in the labor force.

And for all those still harping that things are getting better, remember: things were never supposed to get this bad. Obama’s Stimulus Plan was going to prevent unemployment from getting above 8 percent.

So let’s not pretend any improvement is because of leftist economic policy.