job growth chart*Uh oh, given the political season we’re in, the Republicans aren’t gonna like this bit of news from the jobs front. Meanwhile, the guy who lives in the White house is no doubt smiling.

The numbers say that total U.S. job growth accelerated and the unemployment rate ticked lower in December, signs of strength for the labor market amid broad economic uncertainty for the 2012.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 last month, the U.S. Labor Department reported 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%.

Read/learn MORE at Wall Street Journal.