December’s numbers on United States unemployment percentages show just how much you need to question the reports. Despite adding just 74,000 jobs in December, the US Unemployment rated dropped 0.3% to 6.7% from 7%.
The 74,000 jobs that were added came in at 123,000 LESS than expected job adds for the month, according to Forbes. On top of the unemployment rate, the labor force participation dropped to 62.8%, the lowest rate in more than 35 years. The labor force participation rate is defined as the ratio between the labor force and the overall size of the population.
“’This has been a two steps forward and one step back recovery,’ said Mark Hamrick, Washington bureau chief at Bankrate.com, in a phone interview. While the lowest since October 2008 unemployment rate looks strong that survey only counts people who are looking for work as unemployed, suggesting many people left the labor market last month. The number of unemployed declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million”
Chief US Economist Paul Ashworth believes the low job numbers could be attributed to the poor weather the nation experienced in December. In a survey, 273,000 people reported not being able to work due to weather in December. In November, this number was just 37,000.
“In a phone conversation, PNC Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman urged people to take the new data in stride, noting that if you average the October, November and December numbers you get 172,000 jobs added a month, not far from the 182,000 per month average for the year. ‘Maybe it does mean you curb your enthusiasm a little bit about the economy being ready to break out on the upside, but I don’ t think there is any last weakness.’ He also expects upward revisions to December and 2013.”
The article dissected the numbers a bit further, and reported:
“The jobs that were added came largely from retail and wholesale trade which gained 55,000 and 15,000 jobs respectively. In retail, food stores and clothing stores added 12,000 each, general merchandisers added 8,000 and care dealers added 7,000. The holiday season hiring beat the retail 2013 average by 23,000… manufacturing and mining also added jobs.”
So while on the surface, the 6.7% unemployment is a great thing, looking a little deeper at the numbers could reveal a different story. The unemployment rate never accounts for Americans who have left the job force, and you have to believe with just 74,000 jobs added in December, and the Unemployment rate shrinking, that might have been a figure quite high for Americans liking.
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