Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

June 2012
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Weak jobs assessment confounds economists


WASHINGTON - It came as a shock: U.S. employers added just 74,000 jobs in December, far fewer than anyone expected. This from an economy that had been adding nearly three times as many for four straight months - a key reason the Federal Reserve decided last month to slow its economic stimulus.

So what happened in December? Economists struggled for explanations: Unusually cold weather. A statistical quirk. A temporary halt in steady job growth.

Blurring the picture, a wave of Americans stopped looking for work, meaning they were no longer counted as unemployed. Their exodus cut the unemployment rate from 7 percent to 6.7 percent - its lowest point in more than five years.

Friday's weak report from the Labor Department was particularly surprising because it followed a flurry of data that had pointed to a robust economy: U.S. companies are selling record levels of goods overseas. Americans are spending more on big purchases like cars and appliances. Layoffs have dwindled. Consumer confidence is up and debt levels are down. Builders broke ground in November on the most new homes in five years.

"The disappointing jobs report flies in the face of most recent economic data, which are pointing to a pretty strong fourth quarter," said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.

It's unclear whether the sharp hiring slowdown might lead the Federal Reserve to rethink its plan to slow its stimulus efforts. The Fed decided last month to pare its monthly bond purchases, which have been designed to lower interest rates to spur borrowing and spending.

Janet Yellen, who will take over as Fed chairman next month, "is probably scratching her head looking at the report," said Sun Wong Sohn, an economics professor at the University of California's Smith Business School.

Certainly many economists were. Some predicted that the job gain would be revised up in the coming months. The government adjusts each month's jobs figure in the following two months as more companies respond to its survey.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 65d5322d4b6e45b1980b39e986d4b140
Top Classifieds
  • HAVANESE PUPS AKC Home Raised, Best H ... Details
  • • Old English Bulldog Puppy$ ... Details
  • 2 year old female yellow lab, registe ... Details
  • Adorable Puppies Yorkie Mix. Tails &# ... Details
  • PILLOW TOPmattress sets NEW in plasti ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • Hummel Figurines, Bells & Platesi ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't b ... Details
  • OWN YOUR OWN HOME -AS LOW AS $500 DO ... Details
  • 3 BD, 2.5 BA, 1900 sq ft, 1 mi. from ... Details
  • 2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan 4 dr. 70K ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Columnist's viewpoint on patriotism displeasing
  2. NO. 1 Kentucky leads nation in lung cancer cases
  3. 3 killed in gunfire at clinic
  1. Black Friday less frantic this year
  2. Nonprofit transportation group needing volunteers
  3. NO. 1 Kentucky leads nation in lung cancer cases
  1. Columnist's viewpoint on patriotism displeasing
  2. NO. 1 Kentucky leads nation in lung cancer cases
  3. 3 killed in gunfire at clinic

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...