The job market continued to improve in January, with the unemployment rate dropping to 8.3 percent -- America's lowest level in three years.
Companies added 243,000 jobs last month, while many economists only expected about 150,000 new jobs to be added.
This is the fifth straight month the country added jobs, and analysts welcomed the news.
"This is a very positive employment report from almost any angle," said Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Amherst College.
But even with the gains, the job market still faces a long way back to full health.
At least one of President Barack Obama's Republican challengers said Friday's unemployment figures aren't good enough.
"We can do better," GOP front-runner Mitt Romney said. "These numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obama's policies have prevented a true economic recovery."
The nation has about 5.6 million fewer jobs than it did when the recession began in late 2007.