Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS )reported Friday](http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). The number of unemployed persons declined to 12.8 million in January. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.7 percent) and blacks (13.6 percent) declined in January. The unemployment rates for adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.2 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Latinos (10.5 percent) were little changed. Black unemployment saw the biggest drop – from 15.8 to 13.6 percent. And for the first time in a long time, those numbers aren’t being fudged (much) by people who have dropped out of the workforce. Unemployment overall is at 8.3 percent now, and the BLS says that workforce participation is holding steady. “These numbers are important because one, we now have the lowest unemployment rate in nearly three years. It’s also one of the biggest drops in black unemployment–nearly two points–that the BLS has recorded in years,” said Shani O. Hilton, Colorlines.com’s D.C. Correspondent. “What makes this particularly heartening, though, is that unlike other points in the decline, the decline isn’t happening because Americans are giving up looking for work. The BLS reports that workforce participation is holding steady,” Hilton went on to say.