December Payrolls Fail to Meet Expectations

By Toni Vranjes

January 10, 2014

The pace of job growth slowed down as 2013 ended, according to the employment figures released today by the Labor Department.

Payrolls increased by just 74,000 in December, losing steam from the two previous months. In October, employers created 200,000 jobs, and the economy added 241,000 jobs in November, according to the most recent government data. For December, economists had forecast employment growth of 195,000, according to IHS Global Insight.

down_arrow_6_pt_7The unemployment rate dropped from 7 percent to 6.7 percent last month, as the labor force declined by 347,000. Meanwhile, the labor-force participation rate declined from 63 percent to 62.8 percent.

In a commentary on the report, IHS economist Paul Edelstein wrote that bad weather contributed to the weak job figures. He noted that 273,000 people were unable to work because of the weather — almost double the typical level for December.

One industry that performed well was retail trade, which notched 55,000 new jobs. Professional and business services rose by 19,000, while wholesale trade increased by 15,000. Manufacturing and mining also created jobs. However, employment fell in health care, information, construction and government.

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