U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in December, unemployment rate unchanged at 7.8%

A few weeks ago, it was widely assumed that fears of going over the so-called “fiscal cliff” would cause employment to stagnate.

Things didn’t really work out that way. Hiring continued at a decent pace in December.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

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 labor force participation rate was unchanged from last month, at 63.6 percent. That’s down from 64.0 percent in December of 2011.

Private payrolls actually increased by 168,000, while the nation lost 13,000 government jobs.

A few things worth noting with these relatively solid numbers:

  • Many Americans tune out political news. That includes many employers who make hiring decisions based on the business coming in their door rather than on politics in the nation’s capital.
  • Pretty much everyone assumed that a deal would be struck that would limit tax increases on middle class Americans.
  • The economy is a huge, weighty entity that has a momentum of its own. Right now, that momentum is positive.

A couple of graphs:

Picture 112

Picture 111