The December employment report

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on the December Employment Situation. According to the payroll survey, the U.S. economy added 212,000 private sector jobs in December. Since the trough in February, 2010, an average of 144,000 private jobs have been added each month, so one might think that the recent performance is a substantive improvement. But this growth is barely sufficient to keep up with the growth in the population. Meanwhile, the household survey indicated that the civilian unemployment rate fell from 8.7% in November to 8.5% in December, although, as we shall see, there is far less in those numbers than first meets the eye. Some analysts have gone so far as to say that this is the beginning of a significant recovery. They are mistaken.

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