9.4% – the lowest unemployment level in 19 months

Washington Post: U.S. employers added 113,000 private-sector jobs in December, fewer than analysts expected. But the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent – the lowest level since May, 2009.

Economists had expected the report to show significantly more jobs created in December – 150,000 or more – but had also predicted that the unemployment rate would drop only slightly, to 9.7 percent.

Instead, the overall number of jobs created was 103,000, the government said. The number of jobs created in November was revised sharply upward, from 39,000 to 71,000.

But more people apparently also stopped looking for work in December, which accounts for part of the larger-than-predicted decline in the joblessness rate. The government does not count people as unemployed unless they say they are looking for work.

The much-anticipated jobs report follows a string of promising economic data in recent weeks. It is considered one of the most important signals as to whether the labor market is picking up.

Austan Goolsbee (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 113,000 in December, capping 12 consecutive months of growth that added 1.3 million private sector jobs to the economy during 2010, the strongest private sector job growth since 2006. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point to 9.4 percent last month.

The overall trend of economic data over the past several months has been encouraging … but we still have a ways to go. The measures we worked with Congress to pass last month that continue tax cuts for the middle class and extensions to unemployment insurance are vital to sustaining the recovery. The Administration will also continue to focus on actions that the President has recommended to increase growth and job creation, such as providing incentives to encourage businesses to invest and hire here at home, investing in education and infrastructure, and promoting exports abroad.

In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for October (now 193,000) and November (now 79,000) were revised up. Including today’s revisions, private sector employers have added an average of 128,000 jobs per month in the 4th quarter, the highest quarterly average in almost four years.

…Even though the unemployment rate fell sharply in December, it is still unacceptably high and we need robust employment growth in order to recover from the deep job losses that began over two years ago.  The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically since then, but there will surely continue to be bumps in the road ahead…..

Later today (link):

3 Responses to “9.4% – the lowest unemployment level in 19 months”

  1. 1 Chi
    January 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Really great news…

    Thank you so much President Obama for working so hard on behalf of the American people and for never letting up in spite of the lack of support, attacks and hostility…

  2. January 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Yesterday I overheard tweety on hardball say that it was amazing that Pres.Obama had 50% approval in this political climate and imagine if he got unemployment to 8%…He’d probably have 60%…hehe…firebaggers & nutwing’s worst nightmare 🙂

  3. 3 Kelly
    January 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Thanks to President Obama.

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