- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Jobbed: U.S. employers added a paltry 74,000 jobs in December
The nation’s unemployment rate plunged from 7 percent to 6.7 percent last month as Americans continued to drop out of the labor force while some found jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
Employment growth during the holiday month, at 74,000, was the weakest in three years, although businesses created 38,000 more jobs during October and November than were previously detected by the department. The monthly job gain in December was well below the 182,000 average for 2012 and 2013 and less than half of what most economists were predicting.
The big drop in unemployment occurred largely because 347,000 unemployed workers suspended their search for jobs and dropped out of the labor force, according to the department’s household survey, possibly because of unusually cold weather or because many did not expect to find work during the holidays.
That brought the share of Americans participating in the job market down to 62.8 percent, the lowest since 1978. Only 143,000 people surveyed, by contrast, said they found jobs during the month.
“It’s a flat-out disappointing jobs report,” said Justin Wolfers, economics professor at the University of Michigan. “We were hoping the labor market had turned the corner. This report says it hasn’t.”
Many Wall Street economists had been looking for a pickup in job growth amid other signs that the economic recovery was gathering speed, so the sharp slowdown in job growth is likely to precipitate a big reaction in global financial markets. Bond yields and the dollar immediately dropped on the news.
Looking at the big picture, with monthly job growth average nearly the same amount between 2011 and 2013, the report suggests there has been virtually no acceleration in the U.S. economic recovery for three years.
Besides tepid job growth, the report showed other weakness in the job market during December. The average workweek shrank by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours, while the gain in average hourly earnings over the last year fell back to 1.8 percent after rising to 2.1 percent in previous months.
As might be expected during the Christmas season, the strongest growth in jobs was in retail, though retailers reported only tepid holiday sales last year.
“We’re not out the economic woods yet,” said Jared Bernstein, a former White House economist. “One bad report — a report subject to considerable revisions — doesn’t change everything, but these numbers provide a stark reminder that this economic recovery has been fraught with head fakes.”
Since the middle class and poor depend on wages for income, while the wealthy get most of their income from the soaring stock market, the report was “a sign of the inequality that pervades the U.S. economy,” he said. “We’ve not yet seen overall [growth] or profit growth reach working families in a consistent manner.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Employers add 175K in February; unemployment rose to 6.7 percent
- Chevron scores court win in $9B Ecuador rainforest case
- Moscow shakes up the financial world
- Siberian shale find fuels Russia's fracking future
- Comcast acquisition deal for Time Warner primed to transform the cable box
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- VIDEO: Emily Miller on Fox Business "The Independents" special "The Gun Show"
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again