The December jobs report came out this morning and it’s not good, hitting less than half of what was expected in terms of hiring:
CNBC – The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected in December just as the nation was grappling with a massive surge in Covid cases, the Labor Department said Friday.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 199,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That compared to the Dow Jones estimate of 422,000 for the payrolls number and 4.1% for the unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate was a fresh pandemic-era low and near the 50-year low of 3.5% in February 2020. That decline came even though the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.9% amid an ongoing labor shortage in the U.S.
A more encompassing measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons slid to 7.3%, down 0.4 percentage points. Though the overall jobless rates fell, unemployment for Blacks spiked during the month, rising to 7.1% from 6.5%. The rate for women 20 years and older fell sharply, to 3.1% from 3.7%.
“The new year is off to a rocky start,” wrote Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “These less than stellar numbers were recorded before the omicron variant started to spread significantly in the United States. Hopefully the current wave of the pandemic will lead to limited labor market damage. The labor market is still recovering, but a more sustainable comeback is only possible in a post-pandemic environment.”
I don’t get it. The jobs reports are almost always ‘misses’ and yet the unemployment rate keeps dropping? Biden’s vaccine mandate has decimated people’s jobs and yet the unemployment rating is at a pandemic low? That aint’ right. Sounds very fishy.
Here’s a few responses to the numbers from the media: