The U.S. Labor Department is out with the December 2012 unemployment rate and with the payrolls report. Unemployment rose to 7.8% in December, and November was revised to 7.8% from 7.7%. Dow Jones was calling for December to come in at 7.7%, and Bloomberg was calling for 7.8%.
The big number here to focus on was the change in nonfarm payrolls. This rose by 155,000 in December, down slightly from the 160,000 expected by Dow Jones and right in line with the 155,000 expected by Bloomberg. The private sector added some 168,000 payrolls in December.
November’s nonfarm payrolls was revised slightly higher to 161,000 from 146,000 reported initially.
Average earnings rose by $0.07 to $23.73 per hour, and workers worked 0.1 hours longer with the average work week up at 34.5 hours.
Note that today’s data comes had a cut-off date that was well before the outcome of the fiscal cliff was known.
The jump of 30,000 in construction jobs might have been continued gains from the hurricane in Northeast earlier in the quarter. Manufacturing jobs only added 25,000, and health care jobs added another 45,000. Of the 13,000 jobs lost in government, only 3,000 came from the federal government.
JON C. OGG