The latest jobs report for December from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was disappointing. While official unemployment did technically drop from 7 percent to 6.7 percent, the top line number fails to tell the real story. The drop in unemployment comes from people leaving the workforce, not a real increase in jobs.
Last month nonfarm payroll employment only increased by 74,000. That is well below the roughly 200,000 that were added in the previous several months and what most economists expected.
Part of the reason the job’s report was disappointing was the fact construction cut 16,000 jobs and health care cut 6,000. Health care has been a growing sector for years making this unusual cut in jobs very surprising.
These numbers are concerning but are only a single data point. It is possible this is only a one time dip or even that these numbers will be revised upward when the government gets better data.
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