A Disturbing Jobs Report

A Disturbing Jobs ReportLowest in almost three years, US employers hired the fewest workers in December, but this setback could be temporary in the midst of signs that cold weather conditions might have had a brunt.

On Friday, the Labour Department said, showing the smallest increase since January 2011, the non-farm payrolls rose only 74,000 last month and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.  The unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008 and in part reflected people leaving the labour force.

The data revealed that 38,000 more jobs were added in November than earlier reported.

The step back in hiring is at not in sync with other employment indicators that have portrayed an upbeat picture of the jobs market.

Since May construction employment was down for the first time and leisure and hospitality payrolls grew marginally, suggesting that cold weather in some parts of the country had stalled hiring.  There were also declines in government employment.

The survey of households revealed a boost in the number of people who remained at home due to the bad weather.

An economist's poll had expected job gains of 196,000 jobs last month.  But many pushed up their forecasts in the wake of upbeat labour market data during the week.

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