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U.S. payrolls climb 155,000 in December; jobless rate still 7.8%

By Bloomberg News

This article was published January 4, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.

Employers added workers in December at about the same pace as the previous month, and the unemployment rate matched a four-year low, showing sustained gains in the U.S. labor market even as lawmakers were struggling to reach a budget deal.

Payrolls rose by 155,000 workers last month after a revised 161,000 advance in November that was more than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed Friday in Washington.

The median estimate of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a increase of 152,000.

The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent, matching the lowest since December 2008.

Improved hiring, hours worked and wages is helping underpin spending at retailers from Macy’s Inc. to Gap Inc., where December sales beat analysts’ estimates. Even bigger advances in employment may depend on lawmakers reaching an agreement on a deficit-reduction plan after Congress this week averted income-tax increases on about 99 percent of households.

“The labor market continues to recover,” Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, said before the report. “The pace of hiring is respectable, and the unemployment rate will gradually keep coming down. With the fiscal cliff having been averted, this should be good for job growth. The labor market will continue to make progress this year.”

Bloomberg survey estimates ranged from increases of 80,000 to 305,000. Revisions to prior reports added a total of 14,000 jobs to payrolls in the previous two months.

The economy created 1.84 million jobs for a second straight year.

Read more in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Comments on: U.S. payrolls climb 155,000 in December; jobless rate still 7.8%

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FreeSpiritMan says... January 4, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

And this without any help from republicans, just think where we might be if they would have helped the last four years.

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NoUserName says... January 4, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.

Yawn...I'm no fan of Rs, but let's not think the Ds are rosy, sir. An uptick in jobs for Nov and Dec? I'm shocked. Really.

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FreeSpiritMan says... January 4, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.

NoUserName......What about this little stat?

New housing starts surge 15% in September -- best level since '08

October 17, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- New residential construction starts surged 15% in September to their highest annual rate in more than four years, as the housing sector continued to show signs of a burgeoning rebound.

The number of new privately owned housing units that began construction was up for the third straight month, and rose in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

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Jjackk says... January 4, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.

"The private sector continued to drive the growth, adding 168,000 jobs, while government employers shed 13,000 positions."

"Wage growth also remained unimpressive, with average hourly earnings rising 2.1% in 2012. But that was not sufficient to keep pace with rising prices. "

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NoUserName says... January 4, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.

Missed the point entirely. Congrats Bill.

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