The number of out of work Americans has fallen to the lowest level since 2008 after some federal workers, who were counted as jobless in October, returned to work after a 16-day partial shutdown of the government.

The US Labor Department revealed that the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7% after nonfarm payrolls increased by 203,000 new jobs last month.

The results smashed expectations after analysts forecasted payrolls rising 180,000 last month and the unemployment rate falling to 7.2% from 7.3%.

The partial US government shutdown in October was the first for the government in 17 years.

The last time it was shut down was in 1995-96 when services were suspended for a record 21 days.

More than 800,000 US government workers, including 400,000 from the defence department, were forced to take unpaid leave.

The White House estimated at the time that it would cost the economy $10bn (£6.19bn, €7.4bn).

According to a recent survey, Americans are preparing for another US government shutdown in 2014 after a national opinion poll revealed that two thirds of citizens believe it is likely that a political impasse over the country's debt ceiling will reoccur.

According to a national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America and the American Society of Hematology, 65% of Americans believe that Congress will disagree on the country's deficit and budget issues.

Out of this group, sentiment is shared across all party affiliations; Democrats (66%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (65%).