The unemployment rate fell to 6.7%, the lowest since October 2008. This is despite the fact that we only added 74,000 jobs in December; growth of 200,000 to 230,000 had been expected with a 7% unemployment rate.
Before you get too excited, the workforce participation rate went from 63% to 62.8%, the same numbers we saw last October. More people are leaving the workforce. Hundreds of thousands – 347,000 – left employment after the holidays. That is the biggest jump since 1978. There are 92 million Americans out of the workforce.
The Associated Press reports:
U.S. employers added a scant 74,000 jobs in December, the fewest in three years. The disappointing gain ends 2013 on a weak note after recent economic reports had raised hopes for a strong finish.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell from 7 percent in November to 6.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2008. But the drop occurred partly because more Americans stopped looking for jobs. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively searching for work.
Cold weather may have slowed hiring. Construction firms cut 16,000 jobs, the biggest drop in 20 months.
December’s hiring is far below the average gain of 214,000 jobs a month in the preceding four months. But monthly gains averaged 182,000 last year, nearly matching the previous two years.
Do you think someone could be manipulating numbers?
I guess we don’t need an extension to the unemployment insurance then. All is well in Obama’s fantasy land.