Jan 6, 2012 10:57 AM by DANIEL WAGNER
Stocks are opening slightly lower despite a government report that the unemployment rate dropped in December to the lowest level in nearly three years.
The Labor Department said early Friday that the unemployment rate fell last month to 8.5 percent, while U.S. employers added a net 200,000 jobs.
It was the latest in a string of positive signs about the labor market. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs each month for the past six - the longest such streak since April 2006.
The Dow Jones industrial average is down 21 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,395 shortly after the opening bell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 2, or 0.1 percent, at 1,279. The Nasdaq composite index is down 2, or 0.1 percent, at 2,667.