The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months. That was because more people found jobs, but also because some people gave up on their job searches.
The Labor Department says employers added 103,000 jobs in December, an improvement from November’s revised total of 71,000 but far below most analysts’ expectations.
It’s a miss. Not cute. Underemployment was lower, which was kind of good but the headline number still sucks. That said, November was revised higher and so too could this one. I remain astounded at how bad economists are at forecasting this. It’s not like they don’t have a chance to improve EVERY SINGLE MONTH.
This is a biggie. The stock market is already counting these chickens so the bulls better hope they hatch.
The number hits at 8:30, here are the expectations (MarketWatch):
Expectations for the payrolls data — due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time — have increased in the last few days, in part because of a record-breaking increase in private-sector jobs reported by payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. on Wednesday.
Economists polled by MarketWatch on average expect that 175,000 nonfarm jobs were created in December, up from an earlier prediction of 143,000 and well ahead of the 39,000 rise in November. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.8%.
I’ll update here and get some reactions after so come on back.