WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says the falling unemployment rate is evidence that the economic recovery is "gaining traction."

The jobless rate dropped to 7.7 percent last month, the lowest level since President Barack Obama has been in office. A burst of hiring last month added 236,000 U.S. jobs.

Still, White House economist Alan Krueger noted in a statement Friday that the new unemployment rate was measured before $85 billion in automatic budget cuts started taking effect. The administration has warned that the cuts could have a negative impact on employment and economic growth.

Krueger says the administration is urging Congress to move toward a "sustainable federal budget" by closing tax loopholes, enacting entitlement reforms and cutting spending.

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