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Quick Quotes

“The new year is off to a rocky start.”

Economic research director Nick Bunker, Indeed Hiring Lab, on fewer jobs created in December than were expected.

Published on

jan 8, 2022

Modified on

jan 10, 2022

  • The U.S. created 199,000 jobs in December - fewer than the 400,000+ expected.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% - closer to the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.
  • In order to be counted as part of the labor force data, you have to be able to work and actively be looking for work. Many Americans (an est. 1.7M) have left the labor force and are not counted in the data.
  • "'... with 1.7 million fewer people in the labor force than would be expected given the state of the economy, the labor market is less recovered than the unemployment rate would suggest,' wrote Jason Furman, a top economic advisor in the Obama White House, and Wilson Powell III of Harvard University, in a Friday analysis." This quick read explains why there is some confusion about what's really happening in the labor market.
  • Why It Matters: The latest jobs numbers complete the data for 2021. America added 6.4 million jobs (the most ever in one year, dating back to records that began in the 1930s) as jobs returned after the historic 2020 economic shutdown. However, the economy is still short nearly 4 million jobs since prior to the pandemic.
  • P.S. Questions remain about the impact of the latest Omicron variant surge, which wasn't reflected in December's jobs numbers.

Jobs disappoint in December, but unemployment falls to 3.9%

Perplexing jobs report raises concerns about absent workers

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