Unemployment Rate Dropped to 8.5% in December


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The U.S. government reported Friday morning that the domestic economy added 200,000 new jobs in December, with companies creating 212,000 new payrolls. Total job gains have just about doubled since November which saw 100,000 new jobs.

The household survey showed that employment rose 176,000 in December with the unemployment rate falling to 8.5% from a revised 8.7% in November.

Another promising component of Friday's report was that U-6, which takes into account workers who are working part time but would rather be working full time, dropped to 15.2% from 16%. The December level of the U-6 measure is now at its lowest level since February 2009.

Job gains were broad-based, although hiring in the transportation sector looked especially robust, not surprisingly because of seasonal distortions in the month of December. Economists have cautioned that gains here may be reversed come January.

Looking back at the last three months, jobs gains have now averaged 137,000 each month. The latest read suggests that the jobs market is a story of slow but consistent growth.

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