December jobs report: 155K jobs added, jobless rate stays at 7.8%

posted at 8:36 am on January 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

If Barack Obama hoped for a boost in jobs numbers from the Christmas season, the BLS left him not much more than a lump of coal and a couple of sticks in his stocking.  Despite an optimistic report from ADP yesterday, the jobs market only added 155,000 jobs in December, barely above population-growth requirements, while the jobless rate rose slightly to 7.8%. The news was worse for women and black workers:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, and manufacturing.

The number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million, was little changed in December. The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent and has been at or near that level since September. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (7.3 percent) and blacks (14.0 percent) edged up in December, while the rates for adult men (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The underlying measures didn’t improve at all.  The employment-population ratio actually declined by a tenth of a point to 58.6%, near the 2012 low of 58.5% and far below the consistent pre-recession levels — or even the levels seen at the recovery point in June 2009. The civilian labor force participation rate also remained stuck at 63.6%,  near the 31-year lows achieved in 2012 of 63.5%.  The obvious conclusion is that the workforce isn’t expanding at all relative to population growth.

The alternate measure of under/unemployment, U-6, stayed steady at 14.4% however. That would indicate that the situation isn’t getting worse, either.  Instead, we’re still stuck in stagnation at the bottom of the cycle.

The AP considers this good news, noting that “hiring held up” despite the fiscal-cliff brinksmanship in December.  But “holding up” is a curious assessment at this level, as even the AP admits that part of the hiring boost was temporary — and it still didn’t amount to a needle-changer:

Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the gains. Construction added 30,000 jobs, the most in 15 months. That likely reflects additional hiring needed to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and also solid gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery.

Manufacturing gained 25,000, the most in nine months.

Even with the gains, hiring is far from accelerating. Employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month last year, matching the monthly average in 2011.

Actually, we’re barely keeping up with population growth, as the workforce numbers show.  We are a long way from creating enough jobs to put people back into the workforce and back to work.

CNBC did a better job in reporting on the stagnation, although you have to get past its cheery “gradual improvement” in the lead to discover that nothing is actually improving:

Two closely watched measures showed little change for the month.

The labor force participation rate, which measures workers and those looking for jobs, remained mired at 63.6 percent, a 30-year low.

A separate measure that includes those who have given up looking and those working part-time for economic reasons held at 14.6 percent.

That’s not an “improvement.” For more than three years of “recovery,” the workforce has been shrinking and jobs have been barely keeping up with the number of new workers coming into the economy.  It would be nice if the media could pretend that there is a Republican in the White House and report what those workforce numbers actually mean.

Update: A couple of months ago, the Household Survey showed an anomalous increase of more than 870,000 jobs, which created a huge media stir right before the election, even though the official jobs added number comes from the Establishment Survey.  Table A-1 shows this month that only 28,000 jobs got added in the Household Survey, while the number of unemployed in the survey rose by 166,000.  Think the media will report on that?


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No worries. Black Friday sales were off the charts, so this really means nothing.

Gatsu on January 4, 2013 at 8:39 AM

The new normal.

Drained Brain on January 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/03/adp-215k-jobs-added-in-december/

What will be tomorrow’s jobs added figure from the BLS? I’m going to guess 185,000, with an unemployment rate of 7.7%.

Hm.

Your phlegm infestation has given you alarming prognosticating powers, but your cold medicine has thrown your targeting ever-so-slightly off. :)

Meh. You should probably be burned as a witch just in case. I’ll gather some straw.

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 8:43 AM

If Barack Obama hoped for a boost in jobs numbers from the Christmas season, the BLS left him not much more than a lump of coal and a couple of sticks in his stocking.

…everything is fine!…JugEars is back on the beach in Asia!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2013 at 8:43 AM

The news was worse for women and black workers:

Yeah the Obama voters… Are these women mainly from the “single women” category? Probably… In rough times it is those who want others to take care of them will be the worst hit… It is an eternal truth and no amount of good feel rhetoric is going to change this absolute truth…

mnjg on January 4, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Conn Carroll noted something – the unadjusted job loss between November and December was 1.6 million. Putting that in context, last year’s November-to-December job loss was 0.12 million.

PROGRESS!

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Wait till the temperory workers who were hired in the Christmas season get laid off… Also wait until the small and medium business owner(making more than $ 400,000 a year a filing under S-Corp) start firing people because their income taxes went up drastically from 35% to 39.6%…

mnjg on January 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

If Barack Obama hoped for a boost in jobs numbers from the Christmas season, the BLS left him not much more than a lump of coal and a couple of sticks in his stocking.

That’s funny. Never would have thought they were bad numbers by Snuffleupagus’s ejaculatory report this morning.

The Count on January 4, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Spin spin spin

cmsinaz on January 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Conn Carroll noted something – the unadjusted job loss between November and December was 1.6 million. Putting that in context, last year’s November-to-December job loss was 0.12 million.

PROGRESS!

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Adjusted, unadjusted, estimated, trimmed, waxed, starched, kneaded, mani-pedi’d, massaged, lubricated, powdered, lipsticked, gartered, corseted –

Still just some dude trying to be Cher.

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Just like OOTD…

Releasing Jobless numbers should just go away…

What’s the point..

Electrongod on January 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Welcome to the Welfare-Warfare state…

PatriotRider on January 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

I knew I shouldn’t have depended on a presstitute, even one on our side, for math. The unadjusted job loss between November and December was 243,000 (with the final Nov-to-Dec 2011 non-seasoned loss settling at 207,000.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

I always ask my liberal friends when they talk of the “recovery”…if we are in a recovery then why does Food Stamp participation continue to skyrocket…silence…

PatriotRider on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Check my correction. Still, point noted and mind bleach ordered.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Most of these aren’t the sort of job that one can support oneself on. Many are temp or part time work and should be counted differently.

How many of these jobs are permanent jobs that one can support oneself on?

THAT is the real number.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Obama couldn’t care less about jobs. He’s too busy with his ideological stuff, transforming and redistributing things… Obamacare, immigration, gun control, taxes.

petefrt on January 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

The unemployment rate if the 6,750,000 who want a job but are not counted as “unemployed” were – 11.7%, still higher than any measurable point before March 2009.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I always ask my liberal friends when they talk of the “recovery”…if we are in a recovery then why does Food Stamp participation continue to skyrocket…silence…

PatriotRider on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Try asking them what defines a recovery. I’ll wager they cannot answer or tell you the government or the news. I have received such answers.

The GDP is as fake as the climate data crafted by the CRU.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Check my correction. Still, point noted and mind bleach ordered.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Cascading correction only requires slightly more feminine dude to begin with. :)

This data always seems perpetually fraught anyway . . .

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 9:07 AM

So 7.8% of people are completely worthless moochers. Heh. Would have thought the number would be higher.

Seven Seas on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Wasn’t the unemployment rate 7.7 last month?

stenwin77 on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Spin spin spin

cmsinaz on January 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Wring wring wring!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

So 7.8% of people are completely worthless moochers. Heh. Would have thought the number would be higher.

Seven Seas on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

And you would be correct.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM

If Barack Obama hoped for a boost in jobs numbers from the Christmas season,

LOL. Barky doesn’t care one whit about the jobs reports. He wants the US to tank – more opportunities for him to scream about raising taxes.

Besides, the Indonesian Imbecile can’t understand anything about numbers greater than 20, anyway. The guy’s a mathematical illiterate. An idiot. A brain-dead fool. An imbecile of monumental proportions. A mockery of human evolution.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Wasn’t the unemployment rate 7.7 last month?

stenwin77 on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

It was quietly adjusted upward.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM

A couple of months ago, the Household Survey showed an anomalous increase of more than 870,000 jobs, which created a huge media stir right before the election, even though the official jobs added number comes from the Establishment Survey. Table A-1 shows this month that only 28,000 jobs got added in the Household Survey, while the number of unemployed in the survey rose by 166,000. Think the media will report on that?

Nope, partly because it interfers with the “155K jobs added” meme, and partly because of the annual revision to the CPS moving the previously-reported U-3 rate from 7.7% to 7.8%, the 0.0959-point increase in unemployment didn’t result in a “change” due to rounding.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Spin spin spin

cmsinaz on January 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Wring wring wring!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Fold fold fold.

*sigh*

And I don’t get any younger.

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Wasn’t the unemployment rate 7.7 last month?

stenwin77 on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

It was quietly adjusted upward.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM

And October’s was revised upward to 7.9%. It is the annual CPS adjustment, which affects the last 5 years’ worth of data.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

So blacks, Hispanics and women hardest hit. LOL–may they suffer in their own idiocy…no sympathy, no empathy, AND PLEASE REMIND THEM that elections have consequences…

hillsoftx on January 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Stat from Jim Pethokoukis – “At 155K jobs a month, the US would not return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until after 2025.”

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Lol KA2. Axe

:)

cmsinaz on January 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Stat from Jim Pethokoukis – “At 155K jobs a month, the US would not return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until after 2025.”

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Yeah, if they were even like actual job-jobs. Sorry to harp on that, but it seems to continually get glossed over.

Now with ObamunistCare and increased taxes employers will find many new and creative ways to handle the situation.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Unemployment for women rose to 7.3 percent in December from 7.0 percent while the rate for African-Americans rose sharply to 14.0 percent from 13.2 percent in November.

Unemployment among African Americans has remained quite high throughout the sluggish economic recovery of the past several years, despite the steady decline in overall unemployment in the economy generally.

The number of employed African Americans actually fell in December – a month that typically sees a spike in job creation as employers add temporary positions to handle the holiday shopping season.

The number of employed African Americans fell from nearly 16 million to 15.8 million in December.

Own it, Lefties. It didn’t need to turn out this way, you are making this happen.

Sad.

visions on January 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Yeah, if they were even like actual job-jobs. Sorry to harp on that, but it seems to continually get glossed over.

Now with ObamunistCare and increased taxes employers will find many new and creative ways to handle the situation.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

The future holds an ever-increasing U-6 rate even if the number of jobs increase.

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM

So blacks, Hispanics and women hardest hit. LOL–may they suffer in their own idiocy…no sympathy, no empathy, AND PLEASE REMIND THEM that elections have consequences…

hillsoftx on January 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I gotta say that most people haven’t really picked up on this fact yet. The very greedy selfish people who voted to re-elect this bastard are the most harmed by the economic factors. They are living in a world of their own making. May they all find themselves in the gutter! Perhaps free contraception for sluts won’t be seen as so much of a right when the Obamaphone gets turned off and the welfare check hasn’t shown up for a couple of months.

Happy Nomad on January 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Releasing Jobless numbers should just go away…

What’s the point..

Electrongod on January 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

The only person I want jobless is three weeks away from getting another four-year gig.

Happy Nomad on January 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM

It’s been over an hour and I’m surprised nobody went here yet, so allow me to turn up the sarcasm meter to 11:

It’s just great that we have 99-week funemployment for another year. Now only if our demigod would get rid of work-search requirements for funemployment like he did for food stamps, we’d be set.

</sarcasm>

Steve Eggleston on January 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

It would be nice if the media could pretend that there is a Republican in the White House and report what those workforce numbers actually mean.

Can’t you just picture this 24/7.

docflash on January 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

The Dem solution to this mess, naturally, is to stay the course, maybe do more of the same except bigger.

Liam on January 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

The number of employed African Americans fell from nearly 16 million to 15.8 million in December.

There are 42 millions blacks in the US, only 15.8 millions of them work, that is 37.6% of the total blacks in the US who work… Yeah there are people younger than 16 years old and retirees but still it is very shocking that only 37.6% of blacks are working…

mnjg on January 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

The new normal.

Drained Brain on January 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Unfortunately there is nothing ‘new’ about it these days.

On the bright side, people can now claim unemployment for 400 years.

CorporatePiggy on January 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Can’t you just picture this 24/7.

docflash on January 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I remember them howling over the Bush Depression, which actually wasn’t and now we are in one they pretend we aren’t. They are mad, rabid ideologues.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

It would be nice if the media could pretend that there is a Republican in the White House and report what those workforce numbers actually mean.

Yes, let’s remember how AP reported employment news in 2004:

Unemployment rate drops to 5.7 percent, but job growth flat

Friday, January 9, 2004

By LEIGH STROPE
AP Labor Writer

WASHINGTON – The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent in December, the lowest level in 14 months, as frustrated jobseekers gave up their searches with hiring at a near standstill.

The anemic report, released Friday by the Labor Department, raised new fears about the strength of an economic recovery that is producing so few new U.S. jobs. Businesses overall added just 1,000 new American jobs last month, the department reported, far fewer than economists had expected.

RadClown on January 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM

The employment-population ratio actually declined by a tenth of a point to 58.6%, near the 2012 low of 58.5% and far below the consistent pre-recession levels — or even the levels seen at the recovery point in June 2009.

Average employment-population ratio during George W. Bush Administration: 62.7%

Average employment-population ratio during Barack H. Obama Administration: 58.7%

Current employment-population ratio, December 2012: 58.6%

If we had average George W. Bush levels of employment right now, 4.1% more of our civilian noninstitutional population age 16+ would be employed.

How many jobs are missing in the Obama economy?

According to BLS HOUSEHOLD DATA HISTORICAL Table A-1, our current civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and over is 244,350,000

4.1% of that represents 10,018,350 missing jobs.

Over TEN MILLION MORE PEOPLE would be employed right now if we had average Bush-era employment levels.

And the picture is even more stark when you look not at when power transitioned in the White House (1/20/2009), but rather at when overall majority power in Washington, D.C. transitioned between parties.

Republicans held majority control (2+ out of 3 of the House, Senate, and Presidency) from January 3, 1995 to January 3, 2007. Republican majorities were responsible for the budgets for Fiscal Years 1996 through 2007. Over those twelve years, regardless of whether you look at calendar years 1995-2006 or Fiscal Years 1996-2007, the average employment-population ratio during Republican majority control was: 63.3%

Current employment-population ratio, December 2012: 58.6%

If we had employment levels now that matched the average over 12 years of Republican majority control, 4.7% more of our civilian noninstitutional population age 16+ would be employed, and that represents 11,484,450 … nearly 11.5 Million more people who would be employed right now if we had average Republican majority employment levels.

11.5 Million people unemployed as a result of majority Democrat policies.

ITguy on January 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

There are 42 millions blacks in the US, only 15.8 millions of them work, that is 37.6% of the total blacks in the US who work… Yeah there are people younger than 16 years old and retirees but still it is very shocking that only 37.6% of blacks are working…

mnjg on January 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Vote for Obama and you won’t have to work, either.

Archivarix on January 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Remember before the election when we thought this mattered?

sandee on January 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Remember before the election when we thought this mattered?

sandee on January 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Ah. That’s a sad statement. True, but sad.

Axe on January 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Lincolnton Furniture Company closed abruptly Thursday just one year after it was hailed by President Barack Obama as an example of the recovering U.S. economy.

right2bright on January 4, 2013 at 10:48 AM

There is no doubt about it…

The economy that Obama will “inherit” on January 20, 2013 will be worse than the economy Obama “inherited” on January 20, 2009.

And FAR worse than the economy that Obama, Biden, Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, et. al. “inherited” on January 3, 2007 when they and the rest of the Democrats took majority control of the House, Senate, and overall budgeting and spending process.

The outgoing Republican majority left an Employment-population ratio that was 63.4% in December 2006.

It’s not Republicans who tanked the economy. It was Democrats.

If we had the same Employment-population ratio now that we had six years ago when Republicans last held majority control, over 11.7 Million more people would be employed right now.

(63.4% – 58.6%) * 244,350,000 = 11,728,800 missing jobs in the Democrat-majority economy.

ITguy on January 4, 2013 at 10:52 AM

So blacks, Hispanics and women hardest hit. LOL–may they suffer in their own idiocy…no sympathy, no empathy, AND PLEASE REMIND THEM that elections have consequences…

hillsoftx on January 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The big problem is that their HS teachers, their raving lunatic pastors, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, their congressional reps, will all tell them that the higher numbers for these groups just demonstrate the continued racism and misogyny of America. They’ll say it’s not the lack of good education in the cities, it’s not the $200,000 college degrees in “Women’s Studies”, it’s not the overregulated economy, it’s that America sucks and the rich are keeping all their money to themselves. In their coffee circles, poetry groups, front porch gatherings, etc., they will rage against the man, the rich white man that is hoarding all the money.

I don’t believe any of the economic “news”. Oregon’s unemployment rate is supposedly down from it’s double digit high. Yeah, right. As I look around and see 20% of malls with empty store spaces, half-full strip malls, professional buildings using clever ways to hide that half of every floor is empty, I know. Yeah, anecdotal, but last year my gym was full of New Year Resolution people that all faded away by mid February. I’ve been there all three days this year and there are ONLY regulars, the same people that are there every day.

I don’t think even 11.7% is the real number. I thank God every morning that I have a job, and pray for those who don’t. I pity those who think the Dems are going to save them . . .

PastorJon on January 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Crap numbers. At my job, they hired about ten seasonal employees for the holidays. Every one of them were let go on January 1st. Curious to see next months numbers, athough I am sure Obama will be praised regardless.

Jack_Burton on January 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM

No worries. Black Friday sales were off the charts, so this really means nothing to the Chinese.

Gatsu on January 4, 2013 at 8:39 AM

FI

RalphyBoy on January 4, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Fools, your master lives in grand style.

Wake up.

Schadenfreude on January 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Are these seasonally adjusted figures? If not, then that level of growth during the Christmas season is much, much worse.

tom on January 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM

I’m living in an alternate reality:

From ZeroHedge:

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis made her ubiquitous post-NFP appearance on CNBC this morning and spouted the usual propaganda. However, while discussing how wonderful the ATRA was, the seemingly slap-happy Solis noted how great the fact that emergency unemployment benefits were extended for millions of people was – and that thanks to that (and the magic of the Keynesian multiplier), millions of jobs were saved. So, to sum up, paying people not to work, saved millions and millions of jobs? Indeed America, indeed.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-04/hilda-solis-paying-people-not-work-saved-millions-jobs

dogsoldier on January 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Just wait until the January layoffs due to Obamacare are reported in the next couple of months.

Theophile on January 4, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Basically exactly as expected – these were the consensus numbers. Unemployment rate has dropped from 8.5% last January … ISM non-manufacturing came in stronger than expected, and we’re seeing tangential evidence that the end of 4Q12 was not as bad as we feared … still, expectations for 4Q12 numbers are low, and 1Q13 probably will not improve much, but there is growing optimism that the second half of ’13 may be a big rally … markets off to a good start for the year, there is still time to get in … but expect more turbulence over the next couple of months … patience …

TouchdownBuddha on January 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM

TouchdownBuddha on January 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Douse yourself in gasoline and light a match patriot.

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM

So 7.8% of people are completely worthless moochers. Heh. Would have thought the number would be higher.

Seven Seas on January 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Well count me as one of those moochers effective 1-3-13.

Thanks

watertown on January 4, 2013 at 11:05 PM