Disappointment on the US employment front as the world’s biggest economy created far fewer jobs that expected in December.
Payrolls increased by 103,000 – the prediction had been for up to 175,000. However, overall employment for October and November was revised to show 70,000 more job gains than previously reported.
The jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent of the working population – the lowest since May 2009- but economists that that was in part due to people giving up the search for work and it still means more than 14.5 million Americans were out of work in December.
President Barack Obama – who faces a tough re-election battle because of voter discontent over the economy and jobs – said the figures show things are moving in the right direction:
“The trend is clear. We saw 12 straight months of private sector job growth. That’s the first time that’s been true since 2006. The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year and each quarter was stronger than the previous quarter which means that the pace of hiring is beginning to pick up.”
Including part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work, the underemployment rate was 16.7 percent, down from 17 percent in November.