U.S. employers added only 74,000 jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.7 percent, down from its previous rate of 7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
A full two-thirds of the unemployment rate is due to people who have given up on finding work – and a at least one news outlets has taken notice:
BREAKING: US economy adds 74K jobs; unemployment falls to 6.7 percent because fewer people seek work.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 10, 2014
Earlier estimates had put the number of jobs added in December at around 197,000, which is obviously far more than what we got Friday. However, it’s important to note that the December numbers will be revised in the future, meaning that that 74,000 figure may increase.
The U-6 unemployment rate, considered a broader measure of actual unemployment in the U.S., held steady at 13.1 percent, its best posting since around November 2008.
The labor force participation rate dropped to 62.8 percent, down from its previous rate of 63.0 percent. This economic indicator has not been this bad since March 1978:
The decline in both unemployment and labor force participation comes just weeks after the United States Federal Reserve announced it would drawdown multibillion-dollar quantitative easing policies in 2014.
The Fed said in December it would taper its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasurys and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting in January.
Industries, including transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, saw virtually no change in employment in December.
Further, according to Friday’s report, “the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent.”
Here’s unemployment broken up by group:
- Men: 6.3 Percent (previous: 6.7 percent)
- Women: 6.0 percent (previous: 6.2 percent)
- Teenagers: 20.2 percent (previous: 20.8 percent)
- Whites: 5.9 percent (previous: 6.2 percent)
- Blacks: 11.9 percent (previous: 12.5 percent)
- Hispanics: 8.3 percent (previous: 8.7 percent)
- Asians (not seasonally adjusted): 4.1 percent (previous: 5.3 percent)
This is a breaking story. Updates will be added as they become available.
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