The number of new jobs created in the US leapt dramatically in October with employers adding 166,000 posts, twice the expected number.
Jobs figures are a crucial barometer of the economy's health
The surprise growth in jobs suggests the US economy remains robust in the face of a housing slump, credit crunch and high oil prices, analysts said.
Separate data showed orders placed at US factories edged up 0.2% in September - having dropped 3.5% in August.
This was much better than the predicted 0.4% month-on-month decline.
Job gains were prominent in the professional services sector as well as in education and health care, the Labor department said with increases in these areas offsetting losses in manufacturing and construction.
But with unemployment steady at 4.7% in October, it appears that the overall economy may be holding up well, observers said.
The employment situation in the US is seen as crucial to how well it weathers its financial difficulties.
"Businesses have not clammed up on the hiring scene as some feared," said Ken Mayland, of Clear View Economics.
"The wheels aren't coming off the economy."
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein economist Kevin Logan said that not too much attention should be paid to the growth in factory orders.
"These numbers are really just background noise," he argued.
"Everybody is focused on financial market problems and that is what is dominating the financial markets themselves.
"The stock market is worried about potentially bad news emanating from the financial sector and the bond market reflects that as well."