Drill baby drill! The last time US mining jobs were added this fast Reagan had just taken office

US Labor Department figures released on Wednesday show the country's mining sector – particularly in the oil and gas sector – added more jobs in 2011 than at any other period since the early 1980s.

The manufacturing industry also expanded and helped employers to hire an additional 1.6 million workers last year. This was the best performance for the labor market since 2006 and compares to the 8.75 million jobs that were lost in the US a result of the 2008/2009 recession Bloomberg reports:

Economists Peter Cappelli and John Silvia say those gains are likely to be extended in 2012. The improvement may spread beyond factory floors and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to drill for oil: retailers, the leisure industry and even construction may also benefit.