This morning's employment report from the Department of Labor showed non-farm payrolls of 155,000 were added in December, which was above expectations of around 150,000 to be added. The Labor Department revised last month's unemployment rate up from 7.7% to 7.8%, and it held steady with the revised level in December. Employment increased in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.
In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.8 million and accounted for 39.1% of the unemployed. In December, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in December, little changed from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.