By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The economy continued to grow steadily last month despite Washington's impasse over the fiscal cliff, with unemployment staying at a four-year low of 7.8 percent as businesses created another 155,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
The nation added 200,000 jobs in December in a burst of hiring that drove the unemployment rate to its lowest in almost three years.
A spike in the cost of gasoline pushed wholesale prices higher last month, a trend that could limit consumer spending in the coming months.
If Congress lets unemployment benefits expire this week, the jobless won't be the only ones to feel the pain: The overall economy would suffer, too.
"The economy may have been stronger than we thought at yearend, though it's still not at the 200,000 to 250,000 jobs per month we'd like to see," said Diane Swonk, economist at Mesirow Financial.
She noted that government continues to be a drag on the job market, shedding 13,000 jobs during the month.