National Employment Figures Show Increase in Jobs though Stagnant Unemployment Rate

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released job figures for December, which showed a better than expected increase of jobs. While jobs increased by 292,000, the unemployment rate remained at 5% for the third month in a row with 7.9 individuals unemployed.  Essentially unchanged were the number of long-term unemployed at 2.1 million, the number of involuntary part-time workers at 6.0 million, and the number of people marginally attached to the labor force at 1.8 million.  Some predict that further reductions in unemployment could lead to inflation.

  • Long-term unemployed includes those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
  • Involuntary part-time workers includes individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job
  • People marginally attached to the labor force are those who are not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but not during the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

With respect to wages, hourly earnings dropped by one cent after a five cent increase in November.

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