The unemployment level unexpectedly dropped to below ten percent when new employment figures were released yesterday signalling a slow but steady recovery in the labor market. "The unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped to 9.7 percent in January and manufacturers added to payrolls for the first time in three years, which may provide a spark to revive the rest of the labor market. More than half a million Americans found work, a Labor Department report showed yesterday in Washington, helping push the jobless rate to the lowest since August. A separate survey of employers showed payrolls declined by 20,000 as construction companies and state and local governments cut back. 'It’s a slow process, but the labor market is indeed starting to turn the corner,' said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. in Holland, Pennsylvania. While there may be one or two more months of payroll declines, 'I expect increases to be the order of the day going forward.'"