When 8.5% Unemployment Sounds Good

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The U.S. Labor Department is out with the Decemberber unemployment and non-Farm payrolls data.  After a huge upside surprise from this week’s ADP payrolls data being almost double expectations, the expectations for payrolls has increased in the last 24 hours.

Unemployment came in at a magical reading of 8.5% versus the 8.7% consensus reading expected today and versus November’s preliminary report of 8.6%.  November’s reading was revised to 8.7%.

The change in non-Farm payrolls was up 200,000 versus a consensus reading of 155,000. Another issue is that the private sector was actually at 212,000. The non-Farm payrolls in November was revised slightly lower to 100,000 from 120,000.

Now if we could just get the labor force participation rate back up to what it was so that the unemployment rates look more accurate.  Not all of those people can be content with being house spouses.

The preliminary figure for all of 2011 was about 1.6 million jobs added for 131.9 million payrolls, but that is more than 6 million jobs short from January 2008.

The unofficial unemployment rate of those part-time or under-employed workers still wanting a better life dropped to 15.2% from 15.6% in November.

JON C. OGG